3 common types of intellectual property violations
Intellectual property comes in many different forms, and therefore, there are also many different types of intellectual property violations. Federal rules help protect the efforts of creators, as well as the rights of businesses that license intellectual property rights from others.
Intellectual property has significant financial value, which means there are often people who would misuse those resources if possible. Current or former employees and competitors are some of the parties that are most likely to commit intellectual property violations. These are some of the most common violations of intellectual property rights.
1. Infringing on a patent or other rights
Maybe a company designed a new product, so they obtained a patent to protect the concept behind it. Perhaps someone who wrote an essay and published it online, thereby obtaining general copyright protection. Businesses can also register a trademark to use that image as a representation of their brand, only to have others infringe on that intellectual property.
Using a patented concept, intentionally reproducing copyrighted materials or otherwise infringing on established intellectual property protections, often with the intent to profit from such infringement, is a very common intellectual property violation.
2. Misuse of trade secrets
A company’s trade secrets might include recipes and formulas. A professional’s trade secrets could include a list of their suppliers or clients. Business partners and employees are among those with access to trade secrets who might misuse that information later.
Someone attempting to unfairly compete with a business through stolen trade secrets could potentially face claims related to their violation of intellectual property rights.
3. Duplicating copyrighted or trademarked images
Copyrighted original works and registered trademarks have protection from use by anyone other than the party holding the trademark or copyright. The original creator or the party that paid for the rights will control how others use that trademark or copyrighted creation.
Some businesses will create counterfeit products and then duplicate the original brand’s trademark on their packaging to trick consumers. There are even companies that print original works of art on t-shirts or sell homemade copies of movies and music for profit.
Businesses and creators who discover significant intellectual property violations may need to notify the other party of the violation. Sometimes, sending a firmly-worded letter will be sufficient to deter a business or individual from continuing to misuse another party’s intellectual property. Other times, going to court and seeking a court order terminating the misconduct may be necessary.
Fighting back against intellectual property violations can both prevent unfair competition and compensate a business or creator denied fair profit from their intellectual property through the infringement of another.