Be on the Lookout for Intellectual Property Copycats and Thieves!

A company’s intellectual property (a.k.a. its IP) is the foundation upon which its value, reputation, and integrity are built. IP comes in several forms, including trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and patents, all of which serve to protect your business’s practices and overall brand. But what happens when someone else is using your IP?

We live in a world where the markets are free, the internet is thriving, and obtaining another’s IP is remarkably easy. Of course, not every single use of your IP is going to be illegal. However, even if another company is validly using your IP in a certain way, it doesn’t mean it’s not important to know exactly how. So how can you balance this? How can you make sure to monitor how others are using your IP and determine whether or not it’s harming your business? And why?

Why should you do it?

You might think that because you have properly filed your trademarks, patents, and copyrights or that because you have the proper agreements in place to protect your trade secrets, that all of your IP is safe and secure. But, as you might have guessed, this is not always true. A common example of another using your IP is when a competitor uses yours as a comparison in an ad campaign or on their social media. Another example is if you have a valuable logo and brand so counterfeiters use your marks on more cheaply made goods, thus taking away your profits and damaging your brand’s integrity. For these reasons and many others, it’s essential that you are constantly monitoring your IP.

How is it done?

The best way to make sure that you are properly monitoring your IP is to work with an experienced California intellectual property and business attorney. There are numerous ways that another company can be using your IP, from legitimate ways to those more sinister. It takes a lot of time and effort to track all of the ways that your IP can be ripped off, so instead of using up all of your valuable time that could be better placed elsewhere, it’s a good idea let your lawyer do it.

Another main reason to have a lawyer doing this for you is that if they do find infringement, then working out what to do next is a whole new issue. You’ll need the expertise of an IP lawyer who can help you create a plan of attack under applicable laws while continuing to monitor use and develop solutions to the overall problem.

What happens if you don’t?

As we touched on above, there are a lot of dangers in failing to monitor your IP. From counterfeit goods taking away your customers and ruining your brand’s integrity, to lost profits and a confused market. For these any many other reasons, it’s essential to make sure that you are actively and correctly monitoring outside use of your IP.

Contact IGC today!

At Integrated General Counsel, our experienced team of attorneys will work with you and your business to protect your customers and your brand. If you own a business and need help with the protection of its IP, please don’t hesitate to contact us and speak with a member of our team today!

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Written by Integrated General Counsel

Our focus includes handling a variety of corporate matters and also includes litigation in state and federal courts. Our current practice includes providing transactional services and representing a variety of small and medium-sized companies as their outsourced general counsel.