Hundreds of billions of dollars are pulled out of the pockets of content creators every year via intellectual property theft. Intellectual property theft spans a wide variety of white collar crimes. These crimes include patent infringement, copyright infringement, and more.
If you suspect that your intellectual property may have been infringed on, the longer you wait to nip the issue in the bud, the weaker your case becomes.
So, what steps should you take when you feel your property rights are being infringed on? In this post, our team lays out the basics of what you should do to deal with this issue.
Keep reading to learn more!
Be Honest With Yourself
The first thing you should do when you suspect intellectual property theft is to be honest with yourself. How similar is the alleged infringer’s product to yours? Is the infringement you’re seeing hurting your brand or your ability to make money?
Hiring a white collar crime lawyer to manage your intellectual property case as a victim or as an infringer isn’t cheap. Consequently, you’ll want to make sure that your case is strong enough that if you do pursue legal action, you’re likely to earn a favorable result.
Consult With an Attorney
If you feel the marketplace infringement you’re witnessing does warrant your taking action, get a consult from an attorney to validate your suspicions. There are several intellectual property theft lawyers out there that may be willing to opine on the initial details of your case, free of charge.
After consulting with an attorney, if you still feel action should be taken against your infringer, move forward with defending your property rights.
Send a Cease and Desist
The first step to almost every intellectual property defense is sending a cease and desist letter. This letter will come from your attorney, will put infringers on notice regarding their abuse of your rights, and will ask them to stop.
If they don’t, your letter lets offenders know that further legal action will be taken.
In most accidental intellectual property theft cases, a cease and desist should be enough to resolve your situation.
If the person that’s violating your intellectual property does not respond to your cease and desist, or if you feel you should be getting paid damages immediately without giving offenders a chance to cease infringing on your copyright, you can request payment.
A demand letter, again, should come from your lawyer. The letter will outline how much money you’d like for the alleged infringement. At this point, if the property offender chooses to not comply, you can threaten to take them to court.
Go to Court
Going to court is always something you want to avoid, given the cost. If you think you have a strong case, though and haven’t found another means of resolution, court battles may be your only option.
If you win your case in court, you’ll be awarded fair-market value for your lost income. Judges will also award punitive damages.
Intellectual Property Theft Is Worth Fighting
We’ve seen several creatives feel too overwhelmed by the process of defending their property to bother doing so. That’s a mistake.
Without strong voices in the marketplace willing to hold infringers accountable, thieves will continue abusing people’s ability to make livings.
Do your part to stop intellectual property theft by standing up for yourself. If you need more guidance on how best to fight white-collar crimes, consider exploring additional content on our blog.