Intellectual Property protects your creative work and inventors through the patents, trademark and copyright. However, if you are a creator, people may use your work without permission. Content theft tend to be most rampant type of theft, particularly when copyrighted work are posted online. Fortunately you can protect your creation and invention in a number of ways.
Register with the USPTO
You can formally register, copyright or patent your work to make it easier to prove your ownership. When it comes to logos, brand names, and invention, trademark registration and patent registration can cement your ownership and prevent someone else from claiming the work as their own. To help protect your work and invention you will want to note whether the content and invention has been registered. On exception to this is copyright. You dont actually have to register with the USPTO to list your work as being copyrighted in traditional notation. You can also attach a notice to your work.
Monitor use of your content and Invention
While Industrial Trade Secret theft has been on the rise, written material and images are most commonly stolen and used without permission. Most of the time, the only way that you will get to know that your work is being used inappropriately if you monitor how the content is used. For a written content, the simplest way is to search online for your content or conduct a plagiarism search through independent services.
Use a Cease and Desist Letter
When you come to know that someone else is using your content inappropriately one of the first step is to send a Cease and Desist letter. A verbal request may be sufficient, but providing an actual cease and desist letter gives you official record of the request. It is also best to keep as much of the correspondence in writing as possible, since it can help you in an official lawsuit. There’s no state or federal requirement for the number of Cease and Desist Letter you should send. Technically, you can file a lawsuit on the first violation but that’s not always the best course financially. Even if you settle in the court as most of the cases do, it comes at a price. Depending on your state, registration of the suit alone could cost about $200 in addition to service notice costs. However if a cease and desist letter does not work then you can file a formal suit to protect your work.
Send an Assertion of Rights Letter
If you find someone using your creation but you don’t assert your rights, you could unintentionally waive your right for further action because of implied consent. Essentially, the argument goes that if you are aware that someone is using your work and you do not do anything to assert your right, then you are saying they can use it. You don’t necessarily have to send a cease and desist letter but you may want to send an Assertion of Right Letter. Essentially, this is just a letter in which states that you know they are using your content and asks for attribution or just affirms that they can use it but you are not relinquishing any rights.
Factors to consider when planning IP Protection Overseas
Many small businesses find it challenging to protect their IP right abroad and are unaware of the process to obtain and enforce their rights in the foreign market. Some basics, often low costs steps small companies should consider includes:
- Work with an attorney or legal counsel to develop an overall business IP right protection startegy and include it as part of your exporting or global business plan.
- Develop detailed IP language for licensing and subcontracting contracts and seek out reference for trustworthy manufacturers and distributors.
- Conduct due diligence of potential foreign partner
- Record your U.S. registered trademark, and copyrights with custom and border protection.
- Secure and register patents, trademarks, copyrights in foreign key market.