It’s estimated that there are 33.2 million small businesses located in the US. This’s expected to grow with millennials and Gen Zers being 188% more likely to start a business.
If you own a business, you may be worried about intellectual property theft. This is a very valid concern since this is something many businesses experience.
This is when someone else steals a business idea or invention. This also includes creative expressions that the business uses and its products and services.
Keep reading to find out what you need to know about intellectual property theft.
1. Patent Infringement
The first thing you need to know about intellectual property theft is there is more than one kind. Patents give you the rights when it comes to manufacturing and sales.
A patent infringement occurs when your patented invention is used. This applies when you have not given explicit permission for them to do that.
This is possible for design or utility patents, directly impacting your business. This is one of the more common types of intellectual property theft for businesses.
2. Trademark Infringement
There are other infringements that you also need to worry about. One of these is directly related to trademarks for your business.
Trademarks are usually logos, words, phrases, or designs. These are things that distinguish your business and are immediately recognizable.
An infringement occurs if somebody uses your trademark without permission. They usually do this to use your trademark to sell a different product.
This is usually done to deceive buyers with your trademark. This can be damaging to your business and can result in you needing to find a new trademark.
Infringement in this area is also very common. The IP law is clear, but some businesses fail to properly trademark these business elements.
Even if you have all of your trademarks in place, someone can still try to steal them.
3. Copyright Infringement
When it comes to IP theft, you need to stay on your guard. Another kind of infringement involves copyright infringement.
Copyright is there to protect original works of authorship you’ve created. Copyright can help protect things like artwork, music, or product designs.
Copyright ensures that you have exclusive rights to that particular work. An infringement occurs when someone reproduces that item without permission.
For example, you may have designed a label for your products. If somebody re-created that label, this would be copyright infringement, which is equivalent to theft.
4. Trade Secrets Violations
There are other aspects that businesses need to consider carefully. One of these is trade secrets, which are confidential information about the business.
These trade secrets often have to do with how the products are created and the processes used. They are often secured with non-disclosure agreements between parties.
Trade secrets are not directly under intellectual property law. A trade secret violation happens when someone violates the nondisclosure agreement.
They may use your trade secrets to create their own products or share them with competitors. This is most often done by employees or other managers.
Another thing that business owners have to worry about is people copying them. In the business world, this is referred to as counterfeiting.
This is when somebody creates an imitation of a product you sell. They often do this intending to sell or exchange them for original products.
Counterfeits are often sold to deceive unsuspecting customers. Counterfeits can also include copywriting and trademark infringement.
When this happens, this can be extremely damaging to a business. Customers may think they are buying from you when they are buying a lower-quality product.
An example of businesses that struggle with this is luxury fashion brands.
How to Prevent Intellectual Property Theft
IP theft is extremely common when it comes to the world of business. That is why IP protection is something every business owner should focus on.
There are several ways you can do this for the best results. One way is to hire corporate litigation services to help you handle the legalities.
Corporate litigation is quite complicated, and you want to have a professional on your side.
Register Different Properties
There are certain things you need to do to protect aspects of your business. One of the most important things is to register your intellectual properties.
This could include things like trademarks, logos, and designs, as well as copywriting original work so that others cannot use it for their business.
Add Property Clause
Registering your intellectual property is the first step to protecting your business. The second is to have an intellectual property clause in your terms and conditions agreement.
This states the repercussions of intellectual property theft. This is also a good place to list all of the kinds of theft that could occur.
As a business owner, you are always going to be at risk of theft. If you are successful or offer something unique, others are going to want that.
Because of this, you have to stay on your guard to protect your business. You need to monitor your intellectual property and investigate any cases.
You could also research certain words or logos to see if any other businesses pop up.
Intellectual Property Theft: Everything to Know
If you are a business owner, you need to worry about intellectual property theft. This is when someone steals an aspect of your business, like a trademark or a copyrighted work.