Intellectual property, or IP, is likely the bedrock of your business, establishing your brand so that your company can profit from the products and services you offer. The United States has a set of regulations that allow you to retain your rights to avoid IP fraud and theft. If you live in Texas and suspect that you’ve been a victim of IP theft, here are some important things you should know.
Types of intellectual property
There are several types of intellectual properties that could possibly be stolen or used without your permission. To determine whether someone has stolen or unlawfully used your IP, you should be familiar with IP types and the rights associated with them. Common intellectual property types include:
- Patents, which provide you the exclusive rights to control the use, sale and manufacturing of the item you invented
- Trademarks, which are phrases, logos, symbols, words or designs that are used to distinguish your business or products from other items or companies and should be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
- Copyright, which is the legal and exclusive ownership of original IP and creative materials associated with your business, such as music, film, literature, sculptures, poems and paintings
- Trade secrets, which are pieces of valuable information used for the creation of your company, creative process or product and should not be disclosed if a nondisclosure agreement is in place
Proving IP theft
If you suspect that someone is benefiting from intellectual property theft, you should take note of all the people who have access to your IP. This can include freelancers or contractors who have been exposed to confidential information or documents. Think about the timelines that people may have had access to your IP. Keep this information in a safe place so that you can present it in court if necessary.
Speak with an experienced business attorney to find out whether you’ve been a victim of intellectual property theft and learn how to resolve this issue. An attorney might recommend taking an IP thief to court to recoup damages.