By Hampton & Pigott
Posted on 12-12-2022
Unfortunately, in today’s world, there is no shortage of people willing to take advantage of your hard work. An example of this is perfectly illustrated when people seek to profit or benefit from your intellectual property without your permission. You worked hard coming up with an original idea and for the most part, it is up to you to actively protect that hard work. Here are some ways that you can protect your intellectual property.
Your first and best line of defense against intellectual property theft is to register your ideas and work. This is best done before you market or bring your work into public view. There are three main ways you can do this; by patent, trademark, or copyright.
- Copyright: When you register a copyright, you gain the right to file lawsuits against anyone who infringes upon that and collect any subsequent damages that result from the suit.
- Trademark: A trademark gives legitimacy to your work and allows you to use the R symbol next to your intellectual property’s name. This alerts the public that there may be legal repercussions to infringing on that property.
- Patent: A patent will help discourage the public from trying to develop similar or identical ideas as yours since they won’t be able to use them for long.
Even if you have a patent pending or a trademark, your invention may benefit from keeping quiet about it. This is especially true if your idea is not patentable at all. You can operate under the trade secrets law to accomplish this or you can simply limit the number of people you let know about your idea. For investors and clients, you may wish for them to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The more exclusive this information is, the better you can protect it.
Intellectual property laws can help you protect your ideas once they have already been stolen, but they do nothing to prevent that from happening. Which is why it is important for you to keep an eye on the market you are in. If you notice a product or idea that is similar to yours, investigate it further. Look at similarities in images and wording. You can even set up Google alerts that will let you know when things mentioned online appear similar to your work.
If you find that your intellectual property has been infringed on in some way, it is important that you take swift action to defend it. Usually that comes in the way of cease and desist letters, takedown notices, or a lawsuit. Hampton & Pigott would be happy to help you with any of these actions. If you need help protecting your intellectual property, let us back you up.