Intellectual property is the lifeblood of many successful businesses and corporations. Without the ability to exclude others from profiting off names, symbols, inventions, designs, and other creations of the mind, businesses could suffer from unfair competition and lose the ability to reap maximum benefit from their own original idea. In order to protect trade secrets and other forms of intellectual property from theft, the United States has created a set of laws aimed at helping people retain the right to prosper from their own concepts and creations.
The three most common types of intellectual property are:
- Trademarks: Examples include words, phrases, symbols, and designs that are meant to distinguish one product from another.
- Copyrights: Examples include photographs, paintings, poems, music, and software.
- Trade secrets: Trade secrets involve any information that is valuable to a business and is generally unknown by others.
Understand Your Rights
In order to establish whether a person or entity has violated your intellectual property rights, it is important to know exactly what your rights are. Trademark holders, for instance, have the power to stop others from using a trademark that is the same or similar to their own, unless the other party was already using it legitimately. Copyright infringements can include work that is displayed, reproduced, copied, distributed, or used in the production of “derivative works” without the express consent of the original owner. Finally, owners of trade secrets can prevent others from copying, using, or benefiting from the information in any way without consent. They also have the power to prevent disclosure of the information if the offending party has signed a nondisclosure agreement. Those who steal a trade secret with the knowledge that the information is protected can be held responsible for misappropriation.
Do You Suspect Intellectual Property Theft?
If you believe that another person is benefitting from unauthorized use of your intellectual property, begin documenting the suspected theft. You must establish that the offending party had access to your work or information and take note of any time they use it. Gather proof in the form of screen captures, samples of the copied information, etc. It is also important to make sure that the alleged theft is, in fact, a theft and not an example of “fair use”. Keep in mind that fair use for limited non-commercial, educational, or satirical purposes is typically not considered theft in the eyes of the law!
Keep a careful record of how much the infringement is costing you, then contact a Los Angeles business litigation attorney at The Mirkhan Law Firm. We can help you determine whether an infringement has occurred and guide you through the necessary steps to bring legal action against the offender. We have successfully represented several Los Angeles-area businesses in intellectual property theft cases.
Enforcing intellectual property rights requires quick and conclusive action. Contact our firm as soon as possible to consult with a highly qualified legal professional.