Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property

The responses in the United Kingdom and United States to groundless threats of patent infringement proceedings

Trevor Cook * and Corinne Atton *

Keywords: threats, groundless threats, bad faith, patents, infringement, United Kingdom, United States


While most legal systems encourage settlement of disputes out of court, and the warning of potential defendants, a warning of legal proceedings can also been seen as a threat, necessitating specialist legal advice and potential difficulties for individuals and small enterprises. This situation can provide scope for unscrupulous operators to make, in bad faith, threats of actions for intellectual property infringement, never intending to start proceedings, but instead seeking to attract nuisance payments from the recipients of such threats. This article examines recent developments in groundless threats of patent infringement proceedings in the United States and United Kingdom.

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