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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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A colleague has used the content of an info graphic I have

Customer Question

A colleague has used the content of an info graphic I have created and which I consider to be my intellectual property. To that end I put a 'c' symbol and date on the document. He then produced a brochure which copied word for word the content of my info graphic. The idea to create an info graphic and the choice of metrics and combination if words and images is unique. Info graphics are themselves not novel but increasingly used. He has agreed to change all but one choice of metric in his brochure but considers that he is free to use the info graphic format to represent this particular topic- though from looking on line it looks like no one else has created an info graphic on this aspect of the topic. Where do I stand? What legal means do I have to stop him or force him to share any business benefits that might come from the brochure?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return.
Alex Watts : Could you give a little background please?
JACUSTOMER-p5vt2ul3- :

I have provided as much background as I can in asking for this advice. I am concerned not to have receiveda response.

JACUSTOMER-p5vt2ul3- :

Tammy

JACUSTOMER-p5vt2ul3- :

Kindly specify what other information would help you formulate your advice. My relationship to the colleague in question is a business one and I have worked on and off as an associate delivering consulting and training work under his company name as an independent self-employed contractor. I was not paid by or asked by his company to develop the info graphic, rather it was something I had worked on in my own time and for my own purposes. I had got as far as creating a draft which I then asked a designer to 're-image' and had shared the draft infographic with my colleague as part of a co-operative information sharing exercise.

JACUSTOMER-p5vt2ul3- :

I look forward to your answer in due course.

JACUSTOMER-p5vt2ul3- :

Tammy

Alex Watts : Hi Tammy - do you work for the same business together? Is he using the logo outside of the business please?
Alex Watts : Or did you design it independently and he is using it independently?
JACUSTOMER-p5vt2ul3- :

He owns one business and I work independently in another and I work as a subcontractor with him from time to time. It is not a logo Alex it is an infographic- in this case a very condensed summary of research with data presented in a very accessible visual format. I designed it independently, shared it as a gesture of goodwill as a colleague and then he used the material in his own brochure without asking my permission or telling me, then circulated the brochure and

Alex Watts : Ok. So he has copied your work without asking and you are not working for him?
JACUSTOMER-p5vt2ul3- :

in draft form and I spotted he had lifted/copied much of it. Although he subsequently agreed to change some of the content. There is still more than a passing resemblance to my original document and in any case it was my novel idea to present this particular subject matter in the info graphic format. So now his brochure makes use of my 'novel idea' and uses 10% of material I had put in it. He argues that it was his designer who copied my ideas and further that use of infographics is widespread. My point is no one else out there (I have checked on line) has used the infographic format to summarise the research in quite the way I have and he has therefore 'stolen' my original idea. He seems intent on producing the brochure and will 'go to market' with a novel and appealing way to persuade people to buy his services that I want to use to promote my services. Shall I just go ahead and get in there before he does? Can I stop him if I cannot form alliance or partnership wherein we agree to share IP, collaborate and share any business that comes as a result of any promotional material we agree to produce/share or publicise together? Does this make sense?

Alex Watts : Let me read this.
Alex Watts : So it still looks like your design?
JACUSTOMER-p5vt2ul3- :

It looks different but contains similar elements but most importantly it is the only instance that I am aware of as I say above, where someone has used an infographic to summarise and represent this particular research about trust in orgnaisational life!

JACUSTOMER-p5vt2ul3- :

I am sorry Alex, but it does not sound as though you are really able to grasp this. I am concerned about the questions you are asking. Are you actually able to give me any meaningful advice?

JACUSTOMER-p5vt2ul3- :

I am ending this highly unsatifactory consultation.

Alex Watts : Yes, but I need to ask questions before hand, just as if you went to see a solicitor.
Alex Watts : Would you still like me to give you the legal answer?
JACUSTOMER-p5vt2ul3- :

No thanks Alex.

Alex Watts : ok. All the best with this.

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