Protecting your intellectual property is part of doing business in today’s world. Many scientists are striving to find cures for the worlds’ ills. Creative people write music, poems, novels, and other literary works. At the same time, others are discovering unimaginable products that can help us in our daily lives.
These people are creative wonders that may spend years discovering unknown works and products. They need to be protected and adequately compensated for all their work placed in their creations. In addition, they need to have some recourse should their IP be stolen, pirated, and against the agreements of their patents. Which is why intellectual property is important.
What Is Intellectual Property?
According to Investopedia.com, intellectual property (IP) is a broad description of intangible assets (product of a humans’ intellect) that is legally protected like physical property. Therefore, it is a legal means of protecting the poems, music, designs, ideas, etc., just as you would tangible assets.
- Intellectual property is a term used for intangible assets not physical in nature.
- Intellectual property is legally protected by a person or company from use or implementation without the owners’ consent.
- It can consist of many types of assets, including trademarks, patents, and copyrights.
- Intellectual property infringement occurs when a third party uses the asset with authorization.
- Most legal protections for most intellectual property expire after a set time, except for trademarks.
Why Is Intellectual Property Important?
According to StopFakes.gov, individuals must protect their intellectual property. This spurs innovation. Without protection, those that create the innovations would be left without the benefits of their hard work.
Especially in the case of research, people can work for years striving to find solutions for things like health issues, environmental solutions, and other discoveries. Without protecting their intellectual property, they would risk not being compensated and others taking over responsibility for their discoveries.
What Constitutes Intellectual Property Infringement:
As stated by Upcounsel.com, infringement occurs when a party uses the information without the expressed approval of the individual that created it and owns the property. This violates the rights of the owner.
Counterfeit items amount to around $600 billion internationally (in 2011). These violations make up from five to seven percent of international trade.
This may occur when works are copied, exploited, or used by someone without the owner’s permission. This may include piracy or counterfeiting.
- Counterfeiting occurs when someone creates products and goods that are not as good as the original product. We can give an example of knock-off designer purses.
- Piracy is when there is unauthorized replication/duplication and distributing products that have patent safeguards in place. This is why it is important to protect certain assets with patents.
IP infringement may incur against:
- Copyright infringement
- Patent infringementTrademark infringement
- Design infringement
- Trade secrets
Dealing With Intellectual Property Infringements:
Intellectual property infringement is a serious situation. According to Menaentrepreneur.org, courts awarded $4.67 billion in IP theft cases in 2020. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don’t clearly understand the IP laws and violate rights without knowing it. This can result in severe fines and legal costs.
Here are five ways to protect your IP according to Texas CEO Magazine:
First, determine what type of IP you have and need to protect. Is it a name or logo that is part of your brand? If so, you need trademark protection. Symbols, slogans, or designs made need trade dress protection. Original works of literary or musical work need copyright protection. Products created need a design patent. Machinery or products need utility patents.
Protect ownership writes with written agreements. Anyone working on the owner of the IP should sign contracts with third-party workers, employees, and contractors to keep the information safe and not disclosed to anyone outside of those working on the project.
Get a patent assignment and record it ASAP. Each inventor has ownership rights to their patented product unless assigned to another. If an assignment is recorded correctly, within three months, the owner will be protected from another party obtaining the patent rights.
Mark your product with your patent. Patent marking notifies the public and competitors that your product is patent protected. In addition, if the product ever hits the market under another brand, etc., the original owner is protected as long as the actual product is marked with the patent number.
Be diligent and monitor the marketplace. Patent owners need to keep their eyes and ears open to ensure that new products hitting the marketing are not going against their patents without consent. If a product is released that infringes on the patent, it should receive a cease-and-desist demand.
People work very hard on their IP, so they must take the proper measures to have it protected.
They also need to know how to keep their IP safe and what to do if they suspect some infringement.
In most cases, those who have created a patent-worthy product consult with a patent lawyer to ensure all the proper protections are in place.
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