If you’re wondering how to prevent intellectual property theft, you are not alone.
As with any other type of property, intellectual property (IP) is an extremely valuable asset for many businesses.
Thus, it’s important to take precautions in an effort to protect your IP.
Of course, no amount of preventative action can ensure that bad actors won’t attempt to steal your intellectual property.
However, there are certain things you can do.
This guide will go over the five steps you can take to better protect your intellectual property rights.
Have questions about intellectual property law and how you can use it to your advantage? Give The Polasek Law Firm (TPLF) a call.
With more than 25 years of experience helping our clients protect their intellectual property rights, we are confident that we can help you too.
Step 1: Know What Intellectual Property You Can Protect
The first step to preventing theft of intellectual property is to understand what intellectual property rights you may have.
“Intellectual property” is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of rights.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), intellectual property refers to creations of the mind and includes things such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, names, and images.
Four of the most common types of protectable intellectual property are:
- Copyrights, and
- Trade Secrets
Patents provide the owner an exclusive right to prevent or stop others from using a patent’s claimed invention without authorization.
Trademarks are words, phrases, symbols, or designs that identify a source or goods or services and allow the owner to prevent others from using similar marks in connection with related goods or services.
Copyrights provide the owner an exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, or display an artistic, literary, or creative work.
Trade secrets protect your confidential information. Without knowing what protectable rights you may have, it will be difficult to prevent others from infringing upon them.
Step 2: Secure Your IP Rights
Once you’ve identified what intellectual property rights you may be able to protect, the next step is to move forward with actually securing those rights.
To prevent others from using your invention, you must first apply for and obtain a patent.
With copyrights, your rights attach as soon as the work is created. By registering your work with the United States Copyright Office you can put others on notice of your rights, and bring suit in Federal Court.
Similarly, you do not have to register your trademark and can acquire protection through use of the mark in commerce. However, federal registration provides certain nationwide presumptions related to your mark.
Step 3: Monitor Your Intellectual Property
Once you’ve registered your intellectual property, it’s important that you continue to actively monitor it. For example, this might include periodically checking online or setting up alerts for internet searches for similar or identical trademarks, copyrights, or inventions being used by others without your consent.
By diligently monitoring potential infringement, you can better prevent extensive and continued theft of your intellectual property.
Step 4: Should You Send a Cease and Desist Letter?
If you do notice use of your IP by unauthorized third parties, make sure to take prompt action.
A first step to consider in many cases is to send a cease and desist letter. This puts the infringing party on notice that you are actively monitoring your IP and demands that they stop infringing on your rights.
However, sending such a letter opens the potential for the other party to preemptively file a lawsuit. So this action should not be undertaken without careful thought and consulting an attorney.
If you need help drafting a cease and desist letter to send to infringing parties, TPLF can help.
Step 5: Contact an Intellectual Property Attorney
Finally, one of the best ways to prevent theft of intellectual property is to hire an experienced intellectual property attorney.
An attorney can help you:
- Apply for and register your intellectual property;
- Monitor the unauthorized use of your IP by potential infringers;
- Draft cease and desist letters; and
- Pursue litigation when the infringement of your rights continues.
No matter how diligent your efforts are, there’s always a chance that others will attempt to use and profit from your hard-earned intellectual property rights.
Thus, having a qualified IP attorney in your corner can be a fantastic asset.
TPLF: Your Intellectual Property Law Firm
Countless business owners, creatives, and entrepreneurs want to know how to prevent intellectual property theft.
And while there’s no surefire way to prevent the theft of your IP, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your rights.
If you have questions about how to prevent intellectual property theft, The Polasek Law Firm is here to help.
With decades of experience, we have what it takes to zealously defend and actively pursue your intellectual property rights.
For a free consultation with a knowledgeable intellectual property attorney, contact TPLF today.