There are different types of intellectual property (IP) and you want to ensure that your property is covered by the right kind of IP protection. In case you’re ever a victim of copyright law, patent law, or trademark law violations like unauthorized use of your work, plagiarism, counterfeiting of an invention, piracy, etcetera, you want to have a strong case when you take legal action.
In intellectual property infringement actions, penalties or awards in monetary form are given to the intellectual property rights owner under a combination of these legal theories:
- Actual damages – These refer to the dollar amount of losses the copyright, patent, or trademark owner incurred because of the infringing activity. Any provable financial losses that can be directly attributed to the claimed infringement, such as lost sales, lost royalties or lost licensing revenue, count.
- Infringer’s profits – These are the earnings that the alleged infringer made from the infringement of intellectual property. These are only awarded if they are worth more than the total of actual damages suffered by the intellectual property owner from the alleged infringement.
- Statutory damages – These are set by law, but they are generally only claimed by those who registered their copyright, patent, or trademark with the appropriate agency, either the US Copyright Office or the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). These exist since it’s difficult to prove and quantify actual damages and infringer’s profits in an infringement case involving copyright. According to 17 USC 504(c), for infringement casesthat cannot be proven to be either willful or innocent, statutory damages may range from $750 to $30,000 depending on the gravity of the IP infringement act and the financial worth of the offender.
Your inclination might be to protect your intellectual property, and when you consider these awards, you do so with the presumption that you’d be receiving them. Nonetheless, you also have to be vigilant not to infringe on another’s intellectual property rights. What can you do to avoid possibly infringing on somebody’s IP rights?
You have to be sure that when you’re using slogans, graphics, and product components that nobody has the rights to them and you’re not courting copyright infringement, trademark infringement, or patent infringement. When you outsource the creation of written content, graphics, codes, etc., make sure that you have a contract stating that the creator gives you the exclusive rights to this original work. Without this, the creator is free to use it over and over again, even for your competitor.
Here are more tips you can apply to avoid risking an infringement lawsuit:
Make related searches.
Go through copyrights, patents, or trademarks to confirm that your idea isn’t already protected by another’s trademark rights, patent rights, design rights, etc.
Inspect the fine print.
If you’re sourcing music, images, videos, or any other content online, understand what the terms and conditions are for using or licensing them. Make sure you download and save a copy of pertinent contracts or licenses.
Consult an IP lawyer.
If you fear that some infringes might be possible, get legal help in verifying your suspicion. If the risks of violating intellectual property laws are there, you can get advice on what options to take to avoid infringing on the rights of others.
Need Help with an Intellectual Property? Contact an IP attorney today!
For getting intellectual property protection, exercising your intellectual property right, and dealing with other intellectual property concerns, consult an attorney with an in-depth understanding of intellectual property law.
When should you engage the services of an IP lawyer? There are many fitting scenarios. Here are some:
- If you have artistic works you want to register for copyright protection, inventions you want to have patented, or anything that needs trademark protection.
- If you believe that somebody is taking liberties with your creation and using it without permission.
- If your rights as an inventor have been infringed upon.
- If you receive a cease and desist letter regarding intellectual property.
- If somebody’s threatening you with intellectual property litigation over allegations of infringement.
Whether it’s your intent to protect your property or to defend your rights, it’s best to receive legal advice on how to proceed. Certainly, legal counsel and representation are paramount in more serious legal situations. For intellectual property matters, call us at War IP Law, PLLC to speak with an experienced IP attorney.