Intellectual Property Investigations – What you should Know

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Intellectual property

The phrase ‘intellectual property’ is often used in business and represents the legal right you have towards your original ideas, innovations and any other creations of mind. Almost everyone has some type of intellectual property, and some people use the creative genius of their mind to make money, a living. The rights are a set of legal ownership that an individual has to protect the creation of the mind, and from preventing competitors and other third parties from misusing that idea for monetary gains.

If you believe you have a valuable intellectual property (IP) that your competitors might steal or use for profit, and if that can result in losses for you, here is what you must know about it.

What the law says

Every country has its set of laws that protect inventions, creative designs, product designs, brand images and names, trademarks and other confidential information that is a product of the human mind’s genius. These laws protect entrepreneurs and businesses from fraudsters and other copycats who tend to make gains from others’ original ideas.

If you have a business, a unique product design or theme, you can rely on copyright or patent laws to protect them. You can also use the laws to protect confidential information like recipes or chemical formulae used in manufacturing your products. At the same time businesses should also respect the rights of other business.

Trademark law and intellectual property

Property such as as logo, a brand name or image or tag line can also be protected legally. This can be done using the trademark law, which can also be applied to the style of packaging. You need to have a distinct symbol, name or logo to protect your brand image or name with trademark law. It is important for businesses that use trademark law to keep a tab on the market to ensure that their trademarks are not being illegally used by others. Seek the counsel of an attorney or a law firm on how to deal with copyright or trademark infringement by your competitors.

Copyright on the internet

Articles, white papers and photographs that are published on the internet can also be protected by the applicable laws. The laws are applicable to all kinds of material including music, audio, video and text on the internet. Although it is common for photographs on the internet to be copied and used, with or without the trademark logo, it is best to avid copying and using photographs, texts, quotations and images without the copyright owner’s permission.

Talk to your attorney

If you think you have a valuable idea or invention, or any other property that should be protected from competitors, it is important to get it patented immediately. Talk to a patent or trademark lawyer as soon as you can and get your rights over the invention. But if the product or a similar one has already been copyrighted by someone else, you will not be able to copyright it again.

The following tools may be useful in conducting investigations involving such property.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – The United States Patent and Trademark Office provides patent and trademark protection to inventors and businesses for their inventions and corporate and product identification. The United States Patent and Trademark Office works through preservation, classification and dissemination of patent information to encourage innovation and the scientific and technical advancement of American industry.  This site provides access to free patent databases.

To hire a private investigator that specializes in intellectual property investigations, please visit our Private Investigator Directory.

A patent or a copyright can be, literally, worth billions of dollars. Most patents and copyrights are not worth that much, but many are worth a significant amount of money; otherwise that information wouldn’t be worth copyrighting. Having a copyright or patent is not only important to the wealth of individuals, but it is also vital to the development and success of our country. Without copyright protection individuals incentive to produce software, music, prescription drugs etc., is diminished.

Many companies offer an Intellectual Property Investigation service such as private detectives and background investigation companies. Copyright infringement is becoming a greater and greater problem in the United States and worldwide. Intellectual property theft includes software theft, music and movie piracy, bootlegging and imitation products.

The wave of CD burning has tapered off a bit, but illegal music downloading and torrenting software is as vibrant as ever. So many things are downloaded and copied illegally, that it would be impossible to press charges against everyone who violates the law, but the most egregious violators of the law can be prosecuted.

A good Intellectual Property Investigation requires an investigator who has experience and knowledge of copyright laws. Such issues as entrapment, chain of evidence procedures and proper documentation need to be considered to successfully bring a case to conclusion. The cost of a typical Intellectual Property Investigation is approximately $100 an hour.

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