Today’s business environment is powered by great ideas brought to life by skilled and talented professionals. But none of the technologies you know and love today would have existed without the proper protections.
The great ideas behind our current way of life are what’s called Intellectual Property (IP) and, in today’s day and age, this is a business’s greatest asset. However, an idea or a concept is rather easy to copy without the protections we just mentioned.
These protections are legal methods (such as copyrights, patents, trademarks, and more) that a business can use to prove ownership over IP. These methods allow companies to grow unhindered by shady attempts from the competition.
Still, there are times when things aren’t as black-and-white as one would hope to be. That’s why, when push comes to shove, an organization needs to also know how to enforce legal IP protections. And this is our main topic today – enforcing IP protections to protect your growth and market share.
Monitor Possible Infringement
Sadly, the fact that you have IP protection in place doesn’t mean you are automatically protected by the IP office. These institutions are only in place to provide you with the means to protect your IP – they won’t enforce the methods for you.
Therefore, it is your job to monitor the market and keep an eye out for infringement situations.
But what exactly constitutes infringement?
In a nutshell, infringement happens when someone uses your IP without permission. Whether it’s a concept you invented and patented, a trademark, or an element of copyright, you are within your right to hold anyone stepping over your rights accountable.
Therefore, if you suspect or know that your IP rights are being infringed, it’s best to seek professional help to understand the steps you will have to take moving forward. In this case, a law firm specializing in IP protection law, like Heer Law, is your best option.
Research Your Infringers
While you are within your rights to ask for infringers to pay for their deeds, IP lawsuits are often murky, lengthy, and confusing for both parties involved. That’s why before jumping directly into a battle with lawyers, it’s best to take a step back and do a bit of research on your infringer(s).
Here are some of the things to look for:
- Identity – as an individual or company;
- Prior brushes with the law that involved an IP element;
- Do they have the means to pay you?
- Is this a pattern of behavior for them?
While researching your “enemy” also make sure to gather evidence of the infringement. For your claim to stand, you need proof that your rights have been disrespected.
This can be anything from print screens, confessions from customers (there are times when the IP holder is informed by customers about the infringement), statements from the people who were involved in creating the IP, and so on.
Notice or Cease-and-Desist letter
Once you have all the data, talk with your IP law specialist and create an enforcement strategy that will help maximize your efforts. The cease-and-desist letter is (often) the first step you take in order to inform the infringer of your actions.
If you’re lucky and don’t want to take any other legal actions, the infringer will remove the parts that violate your rights or will stop using your IP and everyone can move on. However, this is not always the case, which is why your legal advisor must be an integral part of your strategy.
IP legal protections are extremely useful methods to deter competition from simply taking off with your ideas and making a profit at your expense. However, the enforcement process is not always clear-cut and there are many dead-ends that only an IP law specialist can know.
So the best move you can make in protecting your IP is to discuss it with an experienced legal advisor.
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