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Six Ways to Protect Your Intellectual Property

An idea might be a dime a dozen, but the right property protected idea can be worth millions to you and your business. Ideas are the core of many new businesses. When you get new ideas, you might be excited to share those ideas with others. Reconsider that thought. Share your ideas too soon, and you may find them under the arm of a competitor.

Why should you be concerned about intellectual property rights? Intellectual property law exists to protect your rights to your inventions and innovations. This doesn't revolve just around your designs or plans. Marketing surveys, research data, even your client lists are valuable items. You need to not only understand what is valuable but also how to protect your assets.

Information security has become even more complicated with the increase of use of the Internet and email in business, though you can take action and help secure your business. Here are six tips on how to protect your intellectual property (IP).

1. Exercise patience before sharing information.

How much do other people really need to know? Early on in the developmental stage of your idea, maybe only a few people really need any information to get things working. Pace yourself, don't let go of your ideas early on.

Assess who needs to see what information, and how much information they actually need to do their job. Withhold any IP that might be unnecessary. You can even break up your databases so that no one has access to all the information at one time. Restrict the exchange of information via email of critical information within the company, to prevent loss of data, either by design or accident.

2. Get a legal team on your side.

Getting an intellectual property lawyer in your corner is a very important step. IP lawyers can make suggestions to further increase your security. They can help you to take the necessary steps to get patents early and keep track of the valuable assets in your company. This ensures your valuable assets are evaluated correctly, and appropriate value is placed.

Don't wait until your property has been taken before you contact someone. You would save valuable time and money having a lawyer on your side before a breach in security happens. Ask for an evaluation of your current situation, including all of your marketing research and contact list. Don't forget to ask about what else can be protected.

3. Get to know intellectual property law.

Understanding your rights to your intellectual property, and the laws, can be helpful toward protecting your rights. Ask questions. Request to be kept up to date on information you might need to know from your legal advisors.

You don't have to get a law degree. Do, however, keep up to date on IP infringements and how you can avoid being a victim. Understanding what is valuable and what needs protecting, like getting an evaluation from an IP lawyer, can help.

4. Make use of nondisclosure/noncircumvention agreements.

For those who are involved in the process of developing and applying your ideas, make sure you get binding nondisclosure and noncircumvention agreements, or NDAs. It doesn't always protect your information, but it does ensure that the people you work with clearly understand that the information you are providing them is confidential. Such a contract will also hold more ground in court. Create clear stipulations on who can see your information and what can be done with it.

Make sure your NDA covers all your valuable IP. Ensure employees or anyone coming into close contact with all or parts of your information sign the NDA. Keep contracts on file and assure all contracts are accounted for before sharing information. Further (and arguable more important) is the clear definition that all intellectual property developed by the employee on the job belongs to the employer.

5. File for proper patents early on.

It is not good for companies to wait too long before filing for the proper protection for inventions. Don't wait until the invention is completed, or the idea is in the final development stages. When you've come up with an idea, talk to your intellectual property lawyer about how to best protect the uses of your idea, and when to consider applying for protection, as well as what type of protection to seek. Creating documentation early on during the process can save a lot of time.

IP protection can be applied for and you can still work 'under the radar' on projects to ensure the sanctity of your inventions. This falls back under only keeping key people informed about your projects. File early and get your IP secured sooner.

6. Keep your eyes on your own paper, please.

Protect yourself further by avoiding using other people's intellectual property. Give the same respect you would want to have for your own IP. Borrowing someone else's IP for your own devices is hard to hide. If you get caught, all of your own work may be suspect, if litigation later ensues. Protecting your IP means ensuring people obey the law, and that includes you.

You do your best to restrict movement of intellectual property and to use the highest forms of security, however, security systems aren't perfect. The good news is that steps can be taken to ensure you are compensated should anything happen. Getting an intellectual property lawyer on your side early, and taking the necessary precautions helps to ensure if anything should be taken, you know exactly what it is and have all the documentation in place to take action quickly.
during hard times really does pay off.

Source : Dave J. Davies

Using Your Intellectual Property Assets to Combat the Recession

A positive outlook and adaptability is key

In times such as these, companies need to do more with less and, therefore, it is essential for them to capitalise on all of their assets.

I am a firm believer that one of any company's biggest assets is Intellectual Property (IP) - an asset that is often not very well utilised by companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Intellectual Property encompasses property and assets resulting from original creative thought such as patents, copyright material, designs and trade marks. Today, IP represents a staggering 90% of the total value of the world's top 2000 companies. Be this as it may, less than 5% of innovations created in the United States are under licensing agreements, leaving billions of dollars worth of IP assets underutilised.

Globalisation and the growth of a knowledge economy have highlighted the importance of intellectual property rights, thereby putting the demand for effective IP management at the heart of all businesses.

Big multinationals regard IP as a strategic asset rather than merely a legal tool, and it follows that the most successful SMEs are also now seeing the need to manage, exploit and capitalise on their IP assets. This involves not merely protecting and administering the IP assets themselves, but also integrating IP into innovation, growth strategies and business models alike by using both the legal and economic functions of intellectual property.

IP management can be divided up into three task areas - innovation support, portfolio management and IP exploitation. Obviously, the exploitation of IP and related tasks has tax implications which must be addressed and optimised.

Tax implications

SMEs can use the same strategies that have already been employed for many years by multinational companies, which consist of localising their value-generating IP assets - such as brands, customer lists and patents - in low-tax jurisdictions.

If properly managed, locating or relocating assets offshore is a relatively simple process and can provide significant benefits.

Steps to take

When clients contact me regarding how best to adapt to the current economic climate, I look for ways for their companies to extract the maximum possible value from the business's existing IP assets by leveraging those assets across their business models. We also work to identify opportunities for them to extract value from IP from outside their respective industry and support their efforts to find potential customers for their IP in unrelated business sectors.

The importance of protecting and registering trademarks, patents, designs and copyrights cannot be emphasised enough. Whether it be a trade mark registered with the Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union (OHIM), with the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) or with the US Department of Commerce, Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO), the protection and subsequent licensing of IP assets is key to any modern company's survival and development.

I would encourage all of our clients and readers to analyse their own business to see if there are any undervalued existing IP assets that they could protect, sell and/or license from a tax-friendly jurisdiction. Jurisdictions such as Cyprus offer good solutions for precisely that purpose. No tax is withheld on royalties payable to a non-resident company when the right is granted to a Cyprus entity for use outside the Republic. Another solution would be to set up an appropriate Mauritius company.

Intellectual property rights play a crucial role in giving companies a lead in a market, and IP is definitely the business asset of the future.

Will companies be able to rise to challenge of turning knowledge into wealth? COBUS GROUP is here to ensure that you can!

I wish you all the best for a successful 2009.

PS: We shouldn't forget that the hugely successful Microsoft was born during the recession of 1974; we saw the founding of Hewlett Packard during the Great Depression, and the genesis of the technology boom of the past decades began during the recession of the early 1980s - which just goes to show that every cloud has a silver lining and that business model restructuring during hard times really does pay off.

Source : Ezine

IP Rights and Perceptions of Traditional Cultures

In the last month The Jakarta Post published two interesting articles related to the issue of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). First was an article by Mohamad Mova Al'Afghani, a Jakarta-based lawyer and lecturer on Ulema edict on IPR could be misleading (the Post August 9, 2005), and the second was Joseph Stiglitz's article on Intellectual property rights and wrongs, to accommodate whom? (published under Project Syndicate, and republished by the Post on Aug. 18, 2005).

The following article looks at the broader issue of IPR based on the findings of a field trip made to observe how traditional cultures cope with the IPR issue, and whether IPR is healthy or unhealthy for the promotion of traditional cultures.

A group of 10 Indonesian and international scholars, from the U.S., UK, India and Australia, made a two-week trip to Yogyakarta, Solo and Bali, organized by the Social Science Research Bureau (SSRC) and supported by The Ford Foundation. During our trip we met with batik makers in Solo, discussed the IPR issue with some lecturers at Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia (STSI -- Indonesian School of the Arts), Surakarta branch, some Javanese puppet masters and dance creators in Ubud, Bali.

Al'Afghani and Stiglitz pointed out that "Intellectual Property is a concept developed in the West", and "Intellectual Property is important, but the appropriate intellectual-property regime for a developing country is different from that of an advanced industrial country".

Most of the available literature agrees that IPR is a concept born in the West, and it does not really fit the rest of the world.

The basic idea of IPR is good -- to provide compensation to creators, or innovators to foster further creativity. Although the claim sounds good, we have to check how it really operates in the field, in the globalized world, in developing countries, and in the situation where "asymmetric information" -- as Stiglitz opined -- exists.

In the long history of copyright law in UK or in the U.S., one major point is the longer period for a creator, or innovator, to hold a monopoly on the creation from the "public domain". One assumption behind the IPR law is the creator and innovator is granted a period of time that he/she can benefit from his/her creation(s), by receiving royalties, which are deemed the economic right of the creators.

Another right implemented in the IPR law is the moral right, which points to the source of the creation. Citing Joseph Stiglitz as the one who had the idea of "asymmetric information" in a publication, from the moral right point view, is enough. Stiglitz himself says in his last article on the subject, "I am pleased when someone uses my ideas on asymmetric information -- though I do appreciate them giving me some credit."

The IPR regime comes from the individualistic and liberal philosophical point of view, which differs from the belief held by people in the developing countries. Many of our informants during our trip shared their concern for the matter, and for them one of the ultimate virtues that people should pursue is a culture of sharing. Our informants, who practice traditional culture, believe that traditional culture is given from generation to generation in order to share their own values

Preserving traditional culture means that people in the community still practice the culture -- in this sense; prayers, dance, clothes, medicine, folklore, etc. -- and people outside the community are allowed to practice it as long as they know the value behind those rituals. If the outsiders want to practice the same form of traditional culture elsewhere, it is not prohibited -- except for sacred practices -- in which sometimes there is a commercial interest involved.

To them, showing respect for their culture is more important than thinking about the economic compensation

Source : Cafezine

Intellectual Property And Ebay

Intellectual property rights and possible infringements are a major concern in many areas of the Internet today. eBay is by no means an exception. eBay has set forth a clear and straightforward policy on the rules it follows with regard to the protection of Intellectual Property Rights and its commitment to protecting the rights that belong to third parties. The introduction of this eBay policy clearly states that infringement is the unauthorized use of other people’s intellectual property – like copyrighted material and trademarks.

Rules that affect what a seller is allowed to sell on eBay include the restriction or prohibition of certain items simply because they have the potential to infringe on the intellectual property rights of others. These restricted items include: replicas, counterfeit items, and unauthorized copies; Celebrity material including faces, names and signatures, and autographs.

Media restrictions include movie prints in both 35mm and 70 mm formats, bootleg recordings of music, movies, videos, etc., recordable media, promotional copies, and digitally delivered goods.

Software restrictions include academic software, beta Software, and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) software. Applications that have not been opened and are still in the original box are permitted to be sold.

It is recommended that when an eBay seller is selling media on eBay, such as DVD’s, CD’s, etc., that it is noticeably notated in the description of the auction that the item is “new in box” or “unopened”. If a used DVD, VHS tape, cassette or CD is being sold sellers should notate that the item is used and is the original.

There are even restrictions against certain types of equipment that might support unauthorized copies like mod chips, game enhancers, boot disks, and hardware or software that could allow members to duplicate copy-protected material.

When a seller lists an item, the seller is not allowed to encourage or enable others to infringe copyrights, trademarks or other rights. Members cannot improperly use eBay’s name, logo or linking to the eBay web site, nor can a member include authenticity disclaimers or deny responsibility for the items offered in their listings.

Using another member’s item description or picture without their permission is prohibited and falls under the rules set out in eBay’s Item Description and Picture Theft Policy.

eBay has even gone so far that they created a program they call their VeRO program. VeRO stands for Verified Rights Owner. Per eBay, “any person or company who holds intellectual property rights (such as a copyright, trademark or patent) which may be infringed upon by eBay postings or items listed on eBay is encouraged to become a VeRO Program member. Program members presently include hundreds of individuals, local law enforcement, and intellectual property owners from a wide array of industries”. The basic purpose of the VeRO program is to allow intellectual property owners to easily report listings that infringe their rights. eBay feels that it is in their best interest to ensure that infringing items are removed from the site, as they tend to erode good buyer and good seller trust. A tutorial on eBay's intellectual property policies can be found at

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Isnare : Bruce Moilan

How Copyrights And Patents Affect Your E-Biz

You may not realize it, but you deal with intellectual property (IP) every day. If you own a web site, that web site is your intellectual property. The way you deal with IP — yours and others — can directly impact the success of your business.

What’s Intellectual Property?
Registered patent attorney Patricia McQueeney ( explains, “Intellectual property can be broken down into four types: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.”

A patent deals with a completely new invention — a useful item, a novel look on an already-existing item, or a new plant species. Depending on the type of patent, they’re good for between fourteen and twenty years. The scope of a patent is defined by its claims. A claim is only one sentence but it may go on for pages, which is why it’s best to hire an experienced patent attorney.

Copyrights protect creative expression — books, web sites, songs. There is such a thing as common law copyright, which means that you have rights when you create something. The difficulty lies in proving you were first to create it.

For only $30 you can register with the U.S. Copyright Office ( The forms aren’t complicated, and you have a lot more protection in an infringement suit. The copyright is good for your lifetime and seventy years after you die, and you can make it assignable to anyone upon your death.

Copyrights don’t protect the information found in a book or on a web site, but they protect the lay-out and presentation. For web sites, registering your first and last twenty-five pages of code protects the code for your entire web site and the creative expression of your display screens.

A trademark designates an object’s source — it’s a mark or name associated with quality. In trade mark law, arbitrary names are encouraged — Kodak, Kleenex, Apple.The less your trademark describes your product, the stronger it is. If you sell film, using “Film” as a trademark won’t hold up in court. Again there are common law trademarks, but they’re hard to prove and offer less protection than a state or federal trademark (

Trade secrets are governed by state laws and vary from state to state. They encompass a variety of things from formulas (think “Coke”) to customer lists to product sources. Many companies have contracts that expressly prohibit their employees and vendors from giving away any information they’re exposed to while doing business with them. Commonly known facts aren’t considered trade secrets so it’s good to be discreet with your valuable information.

Get It In Writing
It’s important to remember that copyrights and patents give rights to the person who comes up with the idea, not the company that employs them. So if you hire someone to design your web site, the creator owns it unless you have the copyright assigned to you in writing. That’s why many business owners state in their employee agreements that any works or useful inventions created on company time with company funds will be assigned to the company. Cautions McQueeney, “You don’t own it unless you get it written over to you.”

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Isnare : Chris Malta & Robin Cowie

Identifying Types of Intellectual Property That Are Appropriate For Your Business

Regardless of the marketplace or the size of your company, a well-designed Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy can strengthen your business. When creating an IP Strategy, consider the various types of intellectual property that are a logical "fit" for your company and business objectives. Here are four general types of IP and a discussion of business activities that are related to each type.

  1. Patent Protection. If your business is involved with creating new products or services, patents may be useful in protecting and leveraging those innovations. Regardless of a company's industry, there may be business methods and other processes that are patentable.
  2. Trademarks. Trademarks are appropriate for businesses that have, or are developing, strong brands or identities. Those companies should take steps to identify and protect those IP assets, such as company logos, names and other corporate identifiers.
  3. Copyrights. Copyrights are important to consider for any business that creates original works, such as product manuals, audio recordings, video presentations, software, or related items. Use of a copyright notice is simple and informs others that the created work is protected by copyright.
  4. Trade Secrets. Trade secrets are appropriate for businesses that maintain confidential information, such as customer lists, product formulations, manufacturing processes, or advertising strategies. Companies with valuable trade secrets should take appropriate actions to protect those trade secrets and other confidential information.
Example - Multiple Categories. Many businesses can benefit from identifying, protecting and leveraging multiple types of Intellectual Property. For example, consider a company that creates software applications for a particular market. This company may file patent applications related to its innovative software to protect its core technology. The company also takes steps to protect its product names, company logos, and company name through trademark applications. Copyright notices are included in all software code, user manuals, training videos and related material. The company also takes the necessary steps to preserve its trade secrets and confidential information, such as customer lists and future software development strategies.

A successful Intellectual Property Strategy focuses on the types of IP assets that are most appropriate for the company. Consider your current and future business activities when setting IP goals for your company.

For additional help with your IP Strategy, I would like to invite you to claim your Free Instant Access to my 10 page White Paper "Seven Steps to Accelerate your Business with a Successful IP Strategy" by visiting

From Steve Sponseller - Intellectual Property Strategist

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ArticleBase : Brett Carlson

Intellectual Property Agreement

An Intellectual Property Agreement (”IP Agreement”), also called an Intellectual Property Transfer Agreement or Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement, consummates and formalizes an agreement between two companies for the purchase and sale of intellectual property rights. The Intellectual Property being purchased can consist of copyrights, trademarks, moral rights, and/or patents. (Moral rights are recognized in Europe, but not the United States. Thus, a transfer of moral rights would only be applicable in an international agreement.) As opposed to an IP License Agreement, the purchaser or assignee in an IP Transfer Agreement takes total and exclusive ownership and control of the IP rights, and is free to use those rights however he or she wishes.

When drafting an IP Agreement, be sure to consider including the following provisions:

1. Assignment and Waiver of Moral Rights. Moral rights, recognized in Europe but not the U.S., involve general rights in respect to the intellectual property. In this provisions, the assignor must irrevocably and in perpetuity waive, in favor of Assignee, all moral rights in and to the transferred intellectual property, including the following:

* a. The right to restrain or claim damages for any distortion, mutilation, or other modification of the transferred IP;
* b. The right to be associate with the transferred IP; and
* c. The right to restrain use or reproduction of the transferred IP
* d. This waiver shall be binding upon the heirs, executors, employees, directors and all successors involved in the creation of the IP.

2. Representations and Warranties. It is important to include a representations and warranties paragraph in the agreement where the assignor promises that it has the full authority to assign the transferred intellectual property, free and clear of any material encumbrances, liens, or claims against the property. The assignor must also promise that it has the full authority to waive all moral rights.

3. Non-disclosure. The assignor should promise, for itself, its officers, directors, shareholders, etc., that it agrees that, except with the assignee’s express prior written consent, that it will not disseminate, disclose, or use, or permit to be used, any of the transferred intellectual property, since upon execution of the agreement the IP is property of the assignee.

4. Damages Inadequate. The assignee may want to include a provision whereby the assignee must concede that damages at law by itself may not be an adequate remedy for a breach of the agreement. In the event of a breach, the assignee’s rights may be enforceable by specific performance, injunction, or other equitable remedy, as opposed to remedies at law.

5. Assignment of the Agreement. The assignee may wish to require their prior written consent before the assignor is allowed to assign the agreement to a third party.

6. Governing Law. The parties should agree which state will govern the agreement, and if they desire, could include a binding arbitration provision in an effort to seek a speedy resolution to any dispute.

These are the key provisions that must be included in an Intellectual Property Agreement. To read and download actual IP agreements, please visit the agreement section of this website.

Non-Compete Issues for Employers Blog.
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ArticleBase : Brett Carlson

Protecting Your Intellectual Property With Non-Compete Enforcement in a Down Economy

Companies, both big and small, are laying off and firing employees at an unprecedented rate. Many of those employees, from the mail room on up to management, have signed non-compete agreements. It is challenging enough for companies to monitor and enforce these non-compete agreements during normal business operations. In this climate of turmoil, companies need to be proactive with their non-compete enforcement programs as employees are laid off or terminated.

Like most states, Michigan has enacted a statute regarding the enforcement of non-compete agreements. A Michigan trial court judge will typically review the particulars of each employment situation in determining the proper scope of a non-compete agreement regarding geography, market limitations, duration, and other factors. In a down economy, it is expected that Michigan courts will become more circumspect about enforcement.

In order to protect their confidential and proprietary information, including the most sensitive trade secrets, companies need to implement a program for reviewing non-compete issues prior to terminating an employee, and working directly with that employee to make them aware of the non-compete provisions. Our non-compete attorneys are also recommending that companies consider limiting the scope and reach of their non-compete agreements with employees as part of the exit interview. The practical difficulties of monitoring the large number of employees who are being laid off, and then sending threat letters to any employee who violates the non-compete agreement, simply doesn't work in the current environment. Companies need to help their employees, especially high level management, play by the rules on the way out the door.

If you are a company who is considering the termination of employees over the next 12 months, you should consult an attorney who specializes in non-compete issues to discuss an overall strategy focused on limiting the number of non-compete enforcement or litigation issues which will arise as employees seek other jobs.

Enrico Schaefer is a seasoned trial attorney and partner of Traverse Legal, PLC, a law firm specializing in complex litigation, class actions and mass tort. He has numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts to his credit. You can find out more about non-compete agreements at Traverse Legal, PLC, Traverse Legal Intellectual Law Specialists, and Non-Compete Issues for Employers Blog.

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ArticleBase : Brett Carlson

Patents for Sale

The intellectual property (IP) is a grouping of related concepts that cover a certain area or domain. It can be related to names, inventions, written materials and recorded media. The exclusive rights that come with holding the intellectual property on a certain subject give to the owner the possibility to benefit from his work on his own terms.

The intellectual property protects all domains. That is way different categories of IP exist: copyright – for artistic works; a patent – for inventions; a TradeMark– a sign to distinguish certain products or services; an industrial design right – it protects the style, appearance or design of an industrial object, such as furniture, spare parts or textiles; a trade secret – secret information regarding the proprietary knowledge or commercial practices of a business, which may be illegal to disclose to the open public.

If you have intellectual property for sale, you can save yourself the trouble of trying to get it advertised and sold. All it takes is that you find a reputable web-based business – because we all know that the Internet is nowadays the most prolific way of promoting all sorts of things – and sell you intellectual property or license it. There are two ways you can do this.

The first one implies that you, as a licensee or intellectual property seller should create a listing on that web site, which will be posted on the site, thus allowing potential buyers access to it. From here on the process is very simple, as you will be contacted by buyers, and will be able to make a choice of the buyers you wish to continue your communication with, before you finally decide who is going to be the beneficiary of you intellectual property for sale.

The second way to get your intellectual property sold is to list it on a specialized web site, have it reviewed by their team of specialists and broadcast to qualified buyers, and for the interested buyers to contact you. Then follow some preliminary talks, followed by negotiations, upon which the purchase will be finalized offline, in the presence of the attorneys of both buyer and seller.

In other words, such web sites function as mediators between you, as an intellectual property holder, and the buyer. How can this be helpful to you? Well, such specialists will guide you through everything you need in the process of selling your intellectual property, from advertising for it to assisting you with the negotiations.

The same process takes place when you have patents for sale. You can contact an invention development organization that will help you in the process of marketing your invention, while protecting it form those fake inventors, who do nothing but copy yours.

Remember that the human race has gotten so far and will be able to go on only by relying on inventions and better ways of doing things. This is why you should contact specialized organizations that can market you patents for sales, so that the whole world can benefit from your invention. Only by doing so will you be able to turn your dreams into reality, and make the most of what you have invented, for the sake of many other people.

For more resources about Patents for sale or even about Intellectual Property for sale please review this weblink
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ArticleBase : Brett Carlson

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property

Be it a patent, trademark, or copy-written material, your intellectual property is at risk of being pirated. In fact, billions of dollars in losses each year can be attributed to the theft of this most precious commodity. In the United States and other developed countries, a company's intellectual property is protected by various laws. Enforcement of those laws, however, can be another matter entirely.

Often, the victim of piracy must bring the theft to the attention of authorities, and, even then, may be forced to pursue the case on their own until a settlement is reached. What steps should you take to protect your intellectual property?

1. DISCOVERY. The first thing a company should do is institute an ongoing monitoring program that searches for the theft of its' intellectual property. Regular checks of internet sites like Ebay and Amazon, as well as tradeshows and retail locations, may reveal the unauthorized use of your material.

2. DOCUMENTATION. Once violations have been detected, you must take steps to document your findings. Physical and photographic surveillance, witness interviews, and undercover purchases of the pirated material are several ways in which evidence of the theft can be obtained.

3. LITIGATION. Whether you choose to pursue a civil remedy or refer the matter to law enforcement, your company must continue to support the action by providing documentation of your rights to the protected material. You must remain firmly committed to the defense of your intellectual property.

4. RECOVERY. Obtaining a settlement is one thing, actually recovering damages can be quite another. Oftentimes, further investigation is required to locate hidden assets and force the payment of restitution.

While the steps listed above may seem daunting, keep in mind that there are several investigative firms throughout the world that specialize in combating intellectual property theft. The cost of hiring one of these firms is usually far more cost effective than remaining a victim of piracy.Read More About Intellectual Property Here

ArticleBase : Brett Carlson

Knowing the Trademark: Intellectual Property at Its Most Visible

Trademarks are distinctive symbols or marks that signify a particular outfit, organization, company or commodity. It is a referential sign that was created to signify a single source. The trademark was born basically to maintain and protect businesses, and to facilitate the presence of a particular company’s set of goods on the market. In the international arena, the trademark’s significance can be seen in the stock market, specifically.

The stock market cannot survive without trademarks. The acronyms and numerical assignations in the international stock market cannot exist without pre-fabricated trademarks- which brings us to the basic parts of a trademark.

In essence, a trademark may be the commodity or service itself, and the words and symbols that are appended to these products. There is a basic blurring between the commodity and the sign when it comes to determining specifically what a trademark is.

For example, Sony’s Walkman series may be taken as a trademark- both the name of the series and the basic design of the music players are both trademarks and are both protected by the appropriate international treatises.

Trademarks carry a company’s reputation, which is why international law and local state laws protect it. In the United States alone, the largest conglomerates would fight tooth and nail to protect a logo or a combination of a logo and words from dilution, appropriation or misuse. For example, another company may not use the well known symbol of Coca Cola.

How does dilution take place with a trademark? Let us identify first the basic parts of common trademarks: the most visible parts are of course the symbols and words themselves. Colors and font styles may also be protected by law- the signature Coca Cola ribbons for instance, may not be used by other businesses to advertise non-Coca Cola products.

Similarities may also be contested by pre-existing companies if similar trademark symbols suddenly come into being and challenge the singularity of what another existing trademark signifies. If confusion sets in, laws will remove another company’s hold on their trademark.

The economics of the trademark

How does a trademark function in the global arena? Smaller corporations are not completely reliant on trademarks. But for the largest multinational players in the global market, trademarks signify either loss or victory.

Piracy may be the biggest nemesis when it comes to trademark infringement. Take the case of Nike, according to company statistics, not all the profit that comes from sales of commodities with the Nike trademark finds its way back to the company itself.

According to a company spokesperson, trademark infringement is “sort of having a restaurant, where half of the people in it are eating, but are not paying”.

Other similar losers in the trademark protection game is Microsoft- it has been estimated that in some countries of the world, the piracy rate is more than ninety-eight percent- with a meager two percent of sales that can be attributed to legal resellers and dealers. This bourgeoning problem has resulted in two significant steps for intellectual property.

These two steps include: harsher penalties for those caught in the actual act of trademark infringement and second, a revamped international campaign to combat piracy where it is mostly winning: in the minds and hearts of consumers everywhere.

The trademark has become so powerful that a simple “Pepsi” on a bottle would already be able to sell it to consumer bases that are already aware of Pepsi the company’s long history. Because of this, trademark battles are still occurring endlessly across several industries - which prove just how potent a single symbol or a single word is in determining who makes profit, and who loses capital. This is a real war with real losses and hard-won victories.Link to this Page

-Isnare : Jessica Trazzoni

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