A threat action can be brought by “any person aggrieved” by the threat and not just the person threatened. Usually, the person aggrieved will be the manufacturer of the allegedly infringing product, but it may equally be an importer, distributor, buyer or user of such a product. To be a “person aggrieved” the claimant must establish that his commercial interests are, or are likely to be, adversely affected in a real, as opposed to fanciful or minimal, way (Brain v Ingledew (No 3)). To be actionable a threat must be made to someone specific. Consequently, an IP owner may be able to send a general warning to the trade in a circular or advertisement as long as it is not directed to a particular person.
Copyright protection in the UK is governed by the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) and requires an author’s work to be fixated in