Patent litigation attorneys

Whether you’re a business owner, an artist, or an inventor of some kind, there’s one thing you must watch out for when you put your work out into the world: intellectual property theft. Intellectual property is anything that can be copyrighted, patented, or trademarked, and the intellectual property laws surrounding these creations help to ensure that you will get paid for your work. Especially thanks to the internet, where about 25% of traffic goes to infringed content, it is, unfortunately, very easy for intellectual property to get stolen.

How can you tell if someone has used your creations for their own gain? Here are just three of many signs that may clue you in to intellectual property theft — and what you can do about it.

Sign #1: A competing business has used one of your service marks.

Small business owners, especially, need to watch out for potential signs of intellectual property infringement. These might include another company using a trademark or brand name, or it might even present as another business mimicking a small business’s products and services. Even larger corporations can be subject to intellectual property infringement. For instance, several pop-up stores appeared in China a couple of years ago that used Apple’s logo — but with some obvious alterations. They also sold Macbooks and other Apple devices.

Sign #2: You’ve seen your creative work appear somewhere without your permission.

People who create art, literature, and even certain types of software may think that they have to file their work with the United States Copyright Office, but the truth is that copyright is automatically granted. Once a work has been created, the person or persons who made it receive copyright. That doesn’t necessarily stop others from using it, however, so if you see it appear on the internet or in a business’s advertisements. There are exceptions to this, such as if you posted it under a creative commons license — then it can be used for personal use or commercial use, if you allow it. But if someone else is profiting off of your creativity, it may be a matter for an attorney.

Sign #3: Another company is trying to patent a product like yours.

Have you noticed another product out there that looks remarkably like something of yours? If you’ve already gone through the patent filing process, then you may be able to stop someone from capitalizing on your work. This might include someone who adds an ornamental design to your existing product. It may also be a former business partner or employee, too, as these are some of the most likely culprits of IP theft.

What you can do about intellectual property theft:

If you find that your hard work has been used by someone else without your permission, it may be time to talk to an intellectual property rights lawyer. Some attorneys may even deal with patents, trademarks, or copyrights, specifically, but many will deal with all types of IP law. If you think that been a victim of infringement, then talking to an attorney may be a crucial first step.

Have more concerns about potential theft of your intellectual property? Speak to an attorney. You can also leave a comment in the space provided.

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