Submitted by UCS on May 1, 2020
Infringement of Intellectual Property
International IPR infringement is a growing concern for United States companies especially in sectors such as pharmaceutical, agricultural, chemical & textile manufacturers as they spend billions in developing new products and in fighting piracy or counterfeit goods, resulting in huge revenue losses. Many countries understand the importance of intellectual property protection to the development of their economies as U.S. companies employ more than 400,000 people in the United States and many more abroad, so protection is warranted and needed.
Intellectual Property rights are often not treated as a top priority when running a business. This is a critical step that every business owner should closely examine.
Failure to recognize IP rights can have steep repercussions for your business including financial and reputational damage. Violations can open doors to potential lawsuits with big price tags, civil damages, injunction, impoundments, lost profits and significant legal fees to attorneys for expensive litigation so avoiding infringement is critical.
The first step in protecting your intellectual property is recognizing one of the four types you might encounter:
1. Copyrights are original artistic works including music, literature, video, movie, architecture and computer software.
2. Trademarks protect branding words like phrases, symbols, logos, goods, services and companies.
3. Patents cover inventions and rights to the invention for a predetermined time. These include utility, design and plant patents. The inventor’s identity is secretive in nature until the patent is published.
4. Trade secrets protect information of a proprietary nature which includes formulas, programs and data.
What should you do to protect yourself?
Small businesses should begin by checking the United States Patent & Trademark Office databases to ensure a brand, logo, design or product name isn’t registered. A few ways to avoid infringing is to:
1. Create original images or music,
2. Obtain licenses from the copyright holders
3. Use royalty free media to name a few
The Trade and Tariff Act of 1984 clarifies the conditions under which unfair trade cases under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 can be pursued. It was strengthened by the 1988 Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act.
Until all foreign leaders police this issue within their countries, the U.S. will continue to experience exorbitant loss on infringement in the U.S. and abroad.
About the author
Luis A. Rodriguez is a Client Service Representative at United Corporate Services, Inc. and a 2019 Top 50 winner of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR Gorilla)Leader Award. Luis has over 20 years of Intellectual Property, Legalization, UCC and Corporate filing transactional experience. Says Luis: “I have a passion for providing co-workers and clients strategies that are insightful, impactful and informative.”
The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All information, content and materials are for general information purposes only. No reader of this information should act on the basis of this information without seeking legal advice from counsel. Thanks to the US Trade Commission ID-14.