The strongest protection comes from registering your work. By doing so, you put your claim into the public view, discouraging many (but not all) people from using your work without permission.
Trademark registration gives you the right to use the R symbol, giving legitimacy to your claim. A symbol on your unregistered trademark does notify the public of your claim, but has no real legal backing.
A patent or provisional patent application gives you the right to use the patent pending designation. This can discourage many people from developing a product they won’t be able to use for long.
You do need to make sure you maintain your protection, too. Choose a strong trademark and document your first use to make it easier to defend in court if necessary. Renew your trademark on time, use it continuously and file the paperwork documenting use.
If you start marketing or otherwise disclose your invention to the public before filing for patent protection, remember that you must file your patent application within one year of disclosure and be the first to file, or you lose the right to protection. Consider starting with a provisional patent application to preserve your rights.
Pursue Foreign Registration
If you plan to market your invention in other countries, you’ll want to investigate registering your IP in those countries. The United States has several treaties and conventions making it easier for U.S. citizens to register patents and trademarks in multiple countries with one application. You will still need to follow each country’s laws. For example:
Many countries require that you file for patent protection within one year of disclosing your invention.
Some countries require that you file for patent protection before making your new product public.
Some countries require that you include more than a or R symbol with your trademark.
Keep it a Secret
Some intellectual property is best protected by keeping quiet about it. If your work is not patentable, or you prefer to protect it using the trade secrets law, limit the number of people you tell about it. When possible, have potential partners or investors sign non-disclosure agreements. Make sure you make clear exactly what is confidential and how long it must be kept secret.
Even after filing a patent application, you might want to limit additional disclosure, depending on the situation, since protection technically only starts when the USPTO grants your patent.
Monitor Your Marketplace
Laws and registrations offer you legal remedies after your work has been used improperly, but they don’t actually prevent your work from being stolen in the first place. Some people may not be aware of the law. Others don’t care. And sometimes even a thorough patent or trademark search misses something.
Therefore, it’s your job to keep an eye on your industry:
Pay attention to new products and companies, and note the images and words in their marks.
Set up Internet search alerts, such as Google alerts, to receive emails when words or phrases similar to your work are mentioned online.
If your trademark is particularly valuable, consider using a trademark search firm to police your mark. A company like Thomson CompuMark will search domestic and international trademark and domain registrations.
Be careful about trademark dilution. If you allow your mark to become a common term rather than a brand, you risk losing your right to it. For example, “zipper” was once trademarked, but became a product category rather than a brand.
Investigate products that appear similar to yours and their patent filings to determine if they infringe your patent.
Defend Your Rights if Infringed
If you do find instances of infringement, take action. Depending on the situation, you have several options, including:
Send a cease and desist letter telling the infringer to stop using your work. You can send it yourself, but for the most impact, have your lawyer send it.
Request a court injunction to stop a patent infringer from continuing to make or sell the product.
File a lawsuit. Depending on your situation, you many have to decide if you have a strong enough case to make this option worth the cost and effort.
An experienced IP attorney can help you evaluate which protections are right for you as well as help you defend your rights.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.
However, you must understand that Intellectual Property are serious matters when you run a business, and failure to understand their importance can result in financial consequences.
An Intellectual Property violation can open your business to lawsuits and result in hefty price tags. Hence, understanding what Intellectual Properties are and what are the things that can be done to defend against them can help your business in many ways. To know more about such facts, visit BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP.
Types Of Intellectual Property
Not knowing the types of Intellectual Property and the types of protection that can be applied can be difficult to avoid Intellectual Property infringement. Therefore, before you can take any steps to protect your Intellectual Property, you first need to understand the types. Once you know this, you will be able to implement the necessary methods to protect it.
Here are a few major types of Intellectual Property that you might encounter.
- Trademark: Trademarks protect the aspects of branding like keywords, key phrases, logos, services, and brands names.
- Copyrights: Copyright protects the arts or content created by the original creator. This might include art, music, drama, design, computer software, or anything you can imagine.
- Patents: Patents ensure that the right of a new investigation is given to the creator. Any products that launch in the market need to go through a patent.
- Trade Secrets: This ensures that the information of your organization is kept secret. Information is proprietary and builds the core of the business. Hence, organizations have to work hard to keep it a secret.
Knowing the different types of Intellectual Property, we have just mentioned above will help you recognize the protected material more easily.
How Should Businesses Defend Against Intellectual Property Infringement?
Unfortunately, avoiding Intellectual Property infringement is difficult. Lack of information makes the business risk using up its legal limits of Intellectual Property rights. Hence, the best way to solve this problem is to make Intellectual Property rights your first priority and consider this at every step of your business operations.
Here are a few practices that will help you defend against Intellectual Property violations.
1. Create Your Own Content
If your business is solely dependent on the content you create, it is imperative that you create your own content based on what your audiences like. Creating your own content is the easiest way to avoid Intellectual Property infringement.
If you do not have the funds or investment to create your own content, take help from your employers and family members and use free tools to edit them.
2. Create A Social Media Blueprint
Social media partially supports today’s businesses. Hence, it is imperative that you create a social media blueprint. Creating a social media blueprint streamlines the process and the things that need to be done. In addition to that, it ensures that every employee working on social media is on the same page and moves at the same pace.
3. Use Stocks Photos From Trusted Websites
The more professional images you use on your website, the more professionals your business will look. However, startups and aspiring entrepreneurs do not have teh budget to pay for professional photoshoots. In that case, you can use free resources from the internment. In addition, many trusted websites on the internet offer free stock images that can be edited and used to avoid intellectual infringement.
4. Ask For Permissions
This has been a common theme for any post, but the importance cannot be pressured enough. Asking permission to use other’s images ensures that you are doing any activity that will result in Intellectual Property violation.
Getting permission is very simple; you can simply reach out to them using direct messages or simply comment on the post.
Failure to understand the importance of Intellectual Property can have steep consequences for your business. And if left unchecked, it can result in criminal charges and jail time.
If you think that this article was not helpful in any way and was not able to answer the questions you were looking for, we would advise you to consult a corporate lawyer. Corporate lawyers are well versed in commercial laws; hence, they will guide you with your every step.
Dr. Ripu Daman Gulati is an Entrepreneur with over 50 years of experience working with Indian Railways. He holds Doctorate in Management Studies and Master’s in Law. He loves to write about policymaking, legalization issues, and social justice.
Experts on supply chain management and intellectual property outline three ways businesses can safeguard their proprietary information.
February 03, 2014
Time after time companies doing business in emerging economies have weathered criticism for their poor environment and labor practices, and over the past decade, many multinationals have addressed these sort of issues in their supply chains, with varying degrees of success. Now, companies face an arguably even greater risk, especially to top-line revenue: intellectual property theft.
Losing control of proprietary information can have devastating effects on company reputation and profits. In some cases, such as those involving sub-standard knock-offs, intellectual property theft can also pose health and safety concerns for consumers, and the associated liability risk.
We suggest, based on the findings of a new report, that companies can use the same thinking they have applied to protect against social and environmental risk in supply chains to help protect against intellectual property risk in supply chains.
Fundamentally, multinationals should consider how to supplement the use of contracts and legal remedies with a new business-oriented approach. In other words, instead of being punitive and reactive toward intellectual property (IP) violations, companies can achieve more by being proactive and creating incentives for good IP management.
Here are some specific steps companies can take to better safeguard IP that have proven effective in addressing other supply chain issues:
Adopt a Management Systems Approach
Create a cross-divisional IP protection team that includes top executives and incorporates responsible IP practices internally and across the supply chain. Siemens, for instance, has taken this approach. The German engineering and electronics giant established a central Corporate Intellectual Property department, which coordinates the company’s IP strategy, policies and protection procedures, and customizes the overarching approach to meet the specific needs of each of the company’s 15 business divisions.
Establish Visibility Into IP Practices and Potential Problems
Build IP risk into due diligence of supply chain members and potential business partners, and continue monitoring IP protection among suppliers. Nike now factors sustainability into a supplier’s evaluation, weighing it at 25%, on an equal footing with quality, price, timeliness, and delivery. Likewise, companies such as Microsoft have started to incorporate IP protection into their supplier scorecards. Doing so helps to build alignment between sourcing and compliance functions inside the company. It also leads to clearer, more consistent communications with supply chain companies.
Employ Preventive Practices and Respond to Violations
Multinationals can help their suppliers and business partners develop their intellectual property protection capabilities by providing training, which identifies risk factors and shares best practices. Increasingly, companies in developing economies are recognizing that maintaining high standards, whether in safety, labor practices, quality or IP protection, can provide a competitive advantage. In the near term, suppliers can be encouraged to comply with incentives, such as public recognition or the promise of a long-term relationship with the buying company.
Beyond having in place IT security systems to deter cyber theft, companies need to limit access to trade secrets and other critical information, making it available to employees and supply chain partners on a need-to-know basis. An array of tools makes this possible, including encryption of confidential information. Electronic documents can be created so that they exist only for a limited amount of time, can only be accessed with a special code, and are restricted from being saved, forwarded, or printed.
Finally, in the event of an IP infringement, the company may or may not take legal action, but it should conduct a full investigation of what caused the leak, build a corrective plan, and follow up to verify its implementation. Involving the supplier in the process, foregoing legal action, and focusing solely on corrective efforts might be the most advantageous response in the long term.
Moving away from an audit-focused or contracts-only approach to more proactive and preventive measures builds the capability to protect intellectual property along the entire supply chain, increases transparency, and fosters a culture of compliance that benefits all.
Hau L. Lee is the Thoma Professor of Operations, Information and Technology at Stanford GSB. His areas of specialization include supply chain management, information technology, global logistics system design, inventory planning, and manufacturing strategy. He is the founding and current codirector of the Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum, an industry-academic consortium to advance the theory and practice of global supply chain management.
Infringement of intellectual property rights causes and consequences are issues that every business should be aware of. Intellectual property (IP) is an often over-looked or underappreciated asset that practically every business owns in some form, and this is particularly true for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
One reason that IP is often undervalued is because the term itself covers a wide array of property, and it’s often not tangible property, like land or equipment, but is instead created by a person’s intellect or through a unique talent. It can include things such as musical compositions, written material, inventions, artwork, or even trade secrets. They are the creations of composers, authors, inventors, graphic designers, artists, fashion designers, or anyone who comes up with an idea that is unique and can have market value.
Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual property law protects the rights of ownership according to several classifications:
- Copyrights: Copyrights are legal rights given to the creators of works that exist in a tangible form, such as paintings, written articles or books, musical compositions, photographs, films, software, and even public performances. It’s not about ideas, but the form that an idea takes. Acquiring copyright protection prevents other parties from using the work without authorization. The U.S. Copyright Office grants copyright protection.
- Trademarks: Trademarks and service marks can be words, designs, and even expressions that are used to identify a company or product/service to set it apart from other companies or products/services. Trademarks and service marks are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Trademark applications involve designating the goods/services on which the mark will be used, and establishing that the mark is not in use for commercial purposes.
- Patents: Patents are exclusive rights granted to an individual or company to prevent others from using, selling, or assigning an invention by the USPTO. There are strict definitions as to what can and cannot be patented. Patent attorneys are usually required to assist inventors with patent applications.
Protecting Your IP from Infringement
There are many types of IP infringement. Remedies can vary, depending upon the type of intellectual property that is infringed or the degree of value placed upon the property. In some cases the infringement of intellectual property can be deemed a criminal act.
If you suspect that your intellectual property rights have been infringed, you should contact an experienced IP attorney. There are several options available to you to protect your rights.
Identify the Infringing Party
It is not always easy to locate the person or company that is infringing upon your IP rights. It may involve a great deal of research, especially if the material is being used on the Internet, although sometimes it is possible to compel a service provider to give up the name of the offending website’s owner.
Contact the Infringing Party
The first step is usually to reach out to the party suspected of infringing with a “cease and desist” letter that informs them that you have discovered their unauthorized use of your property and tells them to immediately stop using it. The letter should specify the property being infringed, the action necessary to stop the infringement and the time frame for doing so.
Take the Infringing Party to Court
It is important that entrepreneurs recognize the value of their intellectual property and act in a vigilant manner to guard against other parties using the property without permission.
To learn more infringement of intellectual property causes and consequences, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.
The owner of intellectual property rights may take both civil and criminal action against those that infringe its rights in Spain:
10.1. Civil actions
The procedure for bringing action before the Civil Courts is governed by the Civil Procedure Law, which establishes the ordinary trial as the procedural means for the trademark owner to defend its rights against third parties.
The IP owner whose rights have been infringed may claim:
- The cessation of the infringing acts.
- Seizure of the infringing goods.
- To be awarded the seized objects or their means of production.
- The adoption of necessary steps to prevent the continuation of the infringement.
- Publication of the judgment against the infringer.
The owner of the rights may also seek injunctive relief to ensure the effectiveness of the available actions.
10.2. Criminal actions
Industrial property rights are also covered by criminal law.
In addition to activities related to the marketing, use, manufacture and imitation of inventions and distinctive signs without the IP owner’s consent, the Criminal Code also includes the counterfeiting of plant varieties and parallel imports.
Another aspect that should be underscored is the extension of the grounds for determining that an offense is particularly serious. In this regard the Criminal Code establishes sterner penalties consisting of imprisonment (from one to four years), a fine (from twelve to twenty-four months) and special disqualification from practicing the profession related to the offence committed (for a period ranging from two to five years).
A few days ago, the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), chaired by Columbia University law professor Eben Moglen, announced that it would provide legal services free of charge to the Wine project, an open source implementation of the Windows API on Unix-based systems. And the funny thing is, to my knowledge the Wine project hasn’t even been sued yet.
Wine makes it possible to run Windows software on top of Linux. It’s not an emulator, so there’s no need to install a pirated copy of Windows. But being able to run familiar applications such as Microsoft Office or iTunes makes it easier and more convenient for users to switch to Linux. And that can’t make Microsoft happy.
It’s the same story we hear again and again. Intellectual property is becoming the No. 1 cash crop of corporations worldwide. When that revenue source is threatened — when someone wants to give ideas away for free — it’s time to call in the lawyers.
To understand the true impact of this threat, however, you need look no further than the ongoing slugfest Linux users love to hate: The SCO Group vs. IBM. SCO claims that IBM improperly used SCO Unix code in its AIX and Dynix OSes, code SCO alleges found its way into Linux as well. To prove its point, SCO asked the court to have IBM turn over all source code and related documentation pertaining to the development of AIX and Dynix. A simple enough request, right?
Wrong. What IBM eventually produced included 80GB of source code and nearly a million pages of documentation, according to documents revealed by Groklaw. IBM says compliance with the court order involved more than 400 IBM employees and amounted to more than 4,700 hours of work.
In another instance, a company called Maui X-Stream recently marketed a product called CherryOS, which it claimed to be a PowerPC chip emulator for the Intel platform, written from the ground up. When members of the open source community asserted that CherryOS was nothing more than a fraudulently re-branded version of the free PearPC emulator, Maui X-Stream’s response was basically “Prove it.” So that’s what one blogger, who goes by the handle DrunkenBatman, set out to do. The result was an exhaustive, 47-page analysis detailing evidence to support the claim.
Those 47 pages may be a drop in the bucket compared with what IBM had to do, but they’re a good indicator of the burden even a minor legal tiff can place on an open source project. DrunkenBatman volunteered his time, but countless other projects might not be so lucky. And guess what? Maui X-Stream is apparently miffed enough about DrunkenBatman’s efforts that it’s threatening to sue him.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to actually lose a lawsuit to lose the battle. Whether the issue is enforcing an open source license or defending against intellectual property infringement claims, the specter of litigation already looms over many open source projects. In particular, projects involving heavily patent-encumbered multimedia technologies such as FFm peg, MPlayer, and the VideoLAN client expect to shut down completely if patent laws in the European Union are reformed to resemble those in the United States.
And that’s why the SFLC’s announcement is so encouraging and important. If open source software is to continue to thrive, it’s going to need a lot more volunteers — not just to write it, but also to defend it.
Human development is not determined by the mechanics of Darwinian evolution, wrote t he French philosopher Henri Bergson, but by our own creative impulses. The advent of farming, industrial manufacturing, the scientific method, digital technology — these have shaped modern life most. Last week, we considered the dangers of reducing the trade deficit with China, but what about the trade war’s central aim of preventing intellectual property theft? If Bergson was right, and what we make defines us, then how do we protect our inventions?
China has repeatedly attempted to steal American intellectual property, President Donald Trump said in April , after the U.S. Trade Representative proposed up to 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports for what the agency called “harm caused by China’s unreasonable technology transfer policies.” These technology transfers arise from China’s foreign-ownership restriction laws, which require foreign businesses to form joint ventures with domestic Chinese companies to sell their goods in China. These ventures often include some type of technology transfer, exposing foreign businesses to theft.
Th e Chinese wind turbine company Sinovel was recently fined $1.5 million, for example, because it stopping paying on its $700 million deal to use American Superconductor (AMSC) software after two of its employees bribed an AMSC worker for stolen source code. AMSC reportedly lost $1.4 billion in market value and had to cut 70% of its workforce. But it’s difficult to hold China accountable since these technology transfers are “based on mutually agreed terms,” as Chinese Ambassador to the WTO Zhang Xiangchen recently said. In addition, the victims themselves are so dependent on China that, as American economist Martin Feldstein writes, “Although the Chinese practice violates WTO rules, it is difficult to bring a successful technology-transfer case because American companies fear retaliation by Beijing.”
On the other hand, China’s policies stop foreign companies from dominating its infant industries, and despite Western praise of free markets, that’s not unlike Austria, Britain, France and the Netherlands once allowing domestic patents of foreign inventions, or the current U.S. trade war with China, for that matter. South Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang has said:
When they were trying to catch up with the frontier economies, the NDCs [now-developed countries] used interventionist trade and industrial policies in order to promote their infant industries. The forms of these policies and the emphases among them may have been different across countries, but there is no denying that they actively used such policies. And . many of them actually protected their industries a lot more heavily than what the currently developing countries have done. If this is the case, the current orthodoxy advocating free trade and laissez-faire industrial policies seems at odds with historical experience, and the developed countries that propagate such a view seem to be indeed ‘kicking away the ladder’ that they used in order to climb up to where they are.”
But while ” there is no denying that they actively used such policies,” we shouldn’t gloss over the fact that “forms of these policies and the emphases among them may have been different across countries,” because some of those differences matter. China may be playing an ancient game, which affords it some moral cover, but as Bergson would say, the tools make all the difference — and what makes China different are digital tools that unlock new methods of intellectual property theft, as in the case of Sinovel. Foreign nations may not be able to criticize China too heavily without being hypocritical, but they should still protect themselves, and it’s not clear that slapping China with tariffs is the best way to do that.
Not only is the impact of these technology transfers debatable, but Beijing is already working to police intellectual property theft. As with the trade deficit, what matters here is seeing U.S. businesses in China thrive, which similarly can best be accomplished through cooperation rather than confrontation. This is one area where sharing information with China is clearly in our best interest, and as the world leader in intellectual property law, we’re ideally suited to the task.
A more challenging question is how to defend against intellectual property theft when the property being stolen is a nebulous cultural concept, like a certain design principle or an aesthetic sensibility such as Japanese minimalism. What defenses do we even have available in these contexts, and should we even try?
I recently made a simulation game like Gamedev Tycoon where you are in charge of a game company and planning to release it on app stores soon.
2 Answers 2
But what if I provide users an editor where they can change company names (if they want to) from MICROCRAFT to MICROSOFT?
Generally, when you provide tools that allow your users to produce content for your game, you’ll want to include in your game’s license agreement terms that dictate how and what may be produced. The single- or multi-player nature of the game isn’t really an issue, the issue is if the content can be reasonably expected to be distributed by users. It almost certainly always can.
For example, Skyrim is a single-player game that includes official modding tools in the form of its Creation Kit. The EULA for the Creation Kit requires that:
You shall not create any New Materials that infringe upon the rights of others, or that are libelous, defamatory, harassing, or threatening, and You shall comply with all applicable laws in connection with the New Materials.
This kind of clause helps to indemnify you, the author of the software, against intellectual property violations perpetuated by (and appearing to be part of) your software.