Intellectual property theft costs businesses billions each year. If you believe that someone is misusing your patent, copyright, or trademark, you need to act quickly to protect your interests. The California intellectual property attorneys at Structure Law Group, LLP discuss how to respond to IP theft issues.
Types of intellectual property
Companies have legal protection over patented designs or processes, trademarks, and copyrights. Trade secrets are something else entirely. Theft of patents, trademarks, or copyrights can result in lawsuits against other companies or individuals.
Each type of intellectual property affords the company that owns it specific protections. For example, theft of trade secrets can be actionable on both a civil and a criminal basis. Economic espionage is a serious matter for the U.S. government.
- Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses copyrighted material outside of the licensing agreement. A common example is software and other media piracy.
- Trademark infringement occurs when a logo or saying associated with a company is misappropriated for commercial use. For example, if you wanted to open a restaurant called McDoolies but used McDonald’s big M in your logo, that would be trademark infringement.
- Patenting affords a company exclusive rights over an intellectual property for a certain period of time. That patent does not remain in effect indefinitely. Trade secrets, on the other hand, do. Coca-Cola for example protects its recipe using trade secrets.
Considerations when dealing with intellectual property theft
The first determination you will want to make is whether or not the theft occurred from within your company or from outside. In some cases, it may be obvious to identify the source of the IP infringement while in other cases, it could be quite difficult.
Nonetheless, investigating the theft is important to protect your rights as well as to uncover the perpetrator. Depending on what type of IP was stolen, you may be able to file civil or criminal charges against the perpetrator. Due to this fact, you will want to alert local or federal authorities to the theft.
Intellectual property theft is a complicated area of the law. Not all use of the intellectual property is actionable. Not all infringements are damaging to your company. In the event that an IP infringement or theft causes financial injury to your company, you will want a California intellectual property lawyer to handle your dispute against the offending company.
Talk to a California IP Lawyer Today
Structure Law Group, LLP helps California businesses protect their intellectual property. To schedule a consultation, simply give us a call at (408) 441-7500 or contact us online and a California IP attorney can address your needs immediately.