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