Did you know that the United States is the world’s greatest producer of intellectual property? The role intellectual property plays in the American economy is indisputable. Intellectual property accounts for approximately half of all exports out of America. According to some estimates, piracy and counterfeiting cause an estimated $250 billion in lost revenue for the American economy.
Many people assume that intellectual property theft is not a serious offense, but the opposite is true. If your intellectual property is stolen in California, you are likely wondering what to do. At Blackstone Law, we know exactly how serious of an offense intellectual property theft is and how it can negatively affect various aspects of your life. That is why we will explain what you can do and what you should know about intellectual property theft.
What Are the Types of Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property is defined as any product of the human intellect that the law protects from unauthorized use by other people. Typically, intellectual property fits within four categories. The categories are trade secrets, copyright, patent, and trademark. Below, we will look closely at these categories:
- Trademarks: Trademarks do not protect inventions. Instead, they protect words, symbols, logos, and designs that distinguish one manufacturer’s goods from another’s.
- Patents: A patent is a specific legal tool that protects patent owners against others using their creations or inventions. Essentially, patent holders can use their intellectual property without fearing that a competitor will replicate it.
- Trade secrets: Trade secrets do not need to be registered to be protected. Usually, trade secrets can be a formula, pattern, process, program, design, or device. Trade secrets provide the owner with an advantage that allows them to create something that is unique and not generally known.
- Copyrights: In simple terms, copyright refers to someone having the legal right to distribute, sell, and reproduce a unique work. Copyrights can exist for music, art, or written documentation like a novel.
Your intellectual property is worth protecting. If you believe that someone has stolen your intellectual property, you should not hesitate to contact an intellectual property attorney.
What You Can Do If Your Intellectual Property Was Stolen in California
Do you own intellectual property? If so, you need to know how you can protect it. You also need to know what you can do to stop someone from infringing on your intellectual property. The following are ways to prevent infringement and some steps you can take if your intellectual property was stolen in California:
Ensure Proper Registration Has Been Completed
Ultimately, if you do not want your intellectual property to be stolen, you need to register your intellectual property properly. If you want to protect a logo, design, symbol, or key marketing phrase, you can register for a trademark through the trusted U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. You can also apply through this office for a patent if you want to protect original inventions and mechanisms.
Should you wish to protect your original works (i.e., music, art, motion pictures, books, or choreography), you must apply for copyright from the U.S. Copyright Office. When you are ready to protect your intellectual property, it is usually best to speak with a California attorney. The registration process can be complicated, time-consuming, and expensive. You want an attorney to help you register your work to ensure that your work is properly protected.
You Can Send a Cease and Desist Letter
You should consider speaking with a reputable intellectual property attorney when you believe that someone is infringing on your trademark, copyright, patent, or trade secrets. An attorney will evaluate your case to determine the best course of action.
If an attorney determines that your intellectual property has been subject to infringement, your first step most likely will be to send the infringer a cease and desist letter. You should note, however, that a cease and desist letter is not always the right course of action. The facts of your case will determine if sending a cease and desist letter is the right move.
Essentially, a cease and desist letter will tell the person or business entity that is infringing on your intellectual property that they are committing a crime. The letter will demand that they stop their infringing activity. If they do not stop their infringing activity, you will need to speak with an attorney to discuss your litigation options.
You Can File a Takedown Letter
You can file a takedown letter if you discover that your copyrighted material is being made illegally accessible on the internet. In some instances, you do not need to have a registered copyright to file a successful takedown letter. If you work alongside an attorney, they can help you file a takedown letter and send it to the business or person hosting the infringing content online.
Contact a California Attorney Who Has Experience with Intellectual Property Cases at Blackstone Law
Do you believe that a person or business is infringing on your intellectual property? If so, you may want to speak with a California lawyer who specializes in these types of cases. An attorney can help determine if infringement is occurring, and they can help you stop the offense from continuing.
We know how incredibly stressful and worrying it can be to learn that someone is infringing your intellectual property. Fortunately, if you consult with one of the qualified lawyers at Blackstone Law, you can resolve any intellectual property disputes you may have. Our award-winning practice has the knowledge needed to develop a winning strategy, should you need to initiate a lawsuit. To speak with us, you can simply contact us here or give us a call at (310) 956-4054.