Intellectual Property Investigations: How a PI Can Help


Intellectual property is often used in business and represents your legal right to original ideas, innovations, and inventions. Intellectual property rights define individuals’ rights to protect their creations and prevent others from using or benefiting from them. Almost everyone has some intellectual property, and some people use the creative genius of their minds to make money and a living. This article will discuss what’s involved in intellectual property investigations.

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

Intellectual Property Laws

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, 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 businesses.

Trademark law and intellectual property Investigations

Property such as a logo, brand name, image, or tagline can also be protected legally. This can be done using the trademark law, which can also be applied to the packaging style. You need a distinct symbol, name, or logo to protect your brand image or name with trademark law.

It is essential for businesses that use trademark law to keep a tab on the market to ensure that others are not illegally using their trademarks. Seek the counsel of an attorney or a law firm on how to deal with copyright or trademark infringement by your competitors.

Applicable laws can also protect articles, white papers, and photographs published online. The laws apply to all kinds of material, including music, audio, video, and text on the internet. However, it is common for online photographs to be copied and used with or without the trademark logo. It is best to avoid 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, invention, or other property to protect from competitors, applying for a patent immediately is crucial. Talk to a patent or trademark lawyer and immediately get your rights over the invention. However, if someone already has a copyright or patent on the product, you cannot copyright it again.

Intellectual Property Resources

The following resources may help you conduct investigations involving such property.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPO) provides patent and trademark protection to inventors and businesses for their inventions and corporate and product identification. This site provides access to free patent databases.

What do Private Investigators need to know?

Private investigators involved in intellectual property (IP) investigations should be well-versed in various aspects of this specialized field. Here are some key considerations:

  • Understanding Intellectual Property Laws – Knowledge of intellectual property laws, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, is crucial. Investigators should know relevant statutes and regulations to ensure they operate within legal boundaries.
  • Identification of IP Infringements – Private investigators must have the skills to identify and document instances of intellectual property infringement. This may involve conducting thorough research to identify counterfeit goods, pirated software, or other violations.
  • Surveillance Techniques – Surveillance is often a key component of IP investigations, especially in cases involving the unauthorized use or distribution of intellectual property. PIs should be adept at employing surveillance techniques to gather evidence discreetly.
  • Digital Forensics – Given the prevalence of online intellectual property violations, investigators should have a solid understanding of digital forensics. This includes tracing digital footprints, identifying online counterfeit operations, and gathering evidence from digital sources.
  • Interview and Interrogation Skills – Investigators may need to interview individuals involved in suspected intellectual property violations. Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to conduct effective interviews and interrogations are essential.
  • Due Diligence – Conducting thorough due diligence is crucial in intellectual property investigations. Investigators need to verify the authenticity of trademarks, patents, or copyrights and ensure that their clients have valid claims.
  • Working with Legal Professionals – Collaboration with legal professionals is often necessary in intellectual property cases. Investigators should understand legal procedures, be able to prepare evidence for legal proceedings, and work seamlessly with attorneys.
  • Market Research and Analysis – Understanding market trends and analyzing the competitive landscape is essential. Investigators may need to assess the economic impact of intellectual property violations and provide insights to their clients.
  • Global Perspectives – Intellectual property violations can have international implications. PIs engaged in IP investigations should be aware of global intellectual property laws and may need to collaborate with investigators or legal professionals in other jurisdictions.
  • Ethics and Confidentiality – Maintaining high ethical standards and ensuring confidentiality are paramount in intellectual property investigations. Investigators should handle sensitive information carefully and adhere to legal and ethical guidelines.
  • Testifying in Court – In some cases, private investigators may be required to testify. Familiarity with courtroom procedures and presenting findings clearly and convincingly are important skills.

By developing expertise in these areas, private investigators can effectively navigate the complexities of intellectual property investigations and provide valuable support to clients seeking to protect their intellectual assets.

Hire an Investigator

Please visit our Private Investigator Directory to hire a private investigator specializing in intellectual property investigations.

See also how to find Property Records.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at


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