The phrase ‘intellectual property’ is often used in business and represents the legal right you have to your original ideas, innovations, and inventions. Intellectual property rights define the rights that an individual has to protect their creations and prevent others from using or benefiting from them. Almost everyone has some type of intellectual property, and some people use the creative genius of their mind to make money, a living.
If you believe you have valuable property 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.
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 the 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, 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 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 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.
Intellectual Property Resources
The following resources may be useful in conducting 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.
Hire an Intellectual Property Investigator
Some investigation agencies offer Intellectual Property Investigation services. 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.
To hire a private investigator that specializes in intellectual property investigations, please visit our Private Investigator Directory.