There is nothing worse than finding a web site that is a blatant copy of your own. “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery” or so the saying goes. But it really can be no laughing matter when it impacts your business and revenue. There are many forms of copying – from blatant to subtle – the line can be quite thin.

We often get shown two web sites (the original and the copy) and asked “What can we do?“. Well each case is different and needs to be judged on its merits. The copying could amount of many things. Some examples are:

  1. copyright infringement
  2. trade mark infringement
  3. cybersquatting (when a domain name is involved)
  4. unlawful competition
  5. breach of contract (this is only applicable if the infringer agreed to your terms and conditions and then acted in breach of them)
  6. fraud

Your remedies could include:

  • institute proceedings against the infringer under the Copyright Act 98 of 1978
  • apply for urgent interdictory relief in order to protect your rights
  • take action for a breach of contract and claim damages
  • lay a complaint of an abusive domain name registration
  • send a take-down notice
  • claim damages
  • lay a compliant with the police
  • institute any other proceedings available in law

Possible approaches (or courses of action) to resolve the dispute are:

  • Meet the infringer to discuss it
  • Call the infringer
  • Send the infringer a friendly email
  • Get an attorneys to send a threatening Letter of Demand (cease and desist letter) on an attorney’s letterhead by email and registered post

It is often tempting to send the Letter of Demand (the lawyers letter), but this is not always the quickest way to resolve the dispute. Sometimes the other approaches can be better. We can advise you on the best way forward. We can also send the Letter of Demand.