Protecting your business is one of the most important things you can do throughout life. This is a multi-faceted endeavor too, as there are so many areas that can become vulnerable, leading to insurance liabilities, security breaches, and more—to include loss or theft of intellectual property. This could be inventions that need to be patented or copyrighted works whether pieces of architecture, software innovation, literature, music, or more. Trademarks such as logos and symbols must be protected, as well as service marks designating what you provide to your specific industry.
And while protecting from infringement is always something to guard against, there may also be true confusion regarding who intellectual property belongs to within the workplace. To avoid any gray area regarding your ownership over the innovations created within your business, employee confidentiality and non-disclosure/non-competition agreements are recommended whenever possible. While they cannot completely ensure you won’t have any problems or that you won’t have trade secrets walking out the door without your knowledge, they are your best preliminary bet for fending off complications and the potential for serious financial loss and harm to your company.
In the case that your intellectual property is being used without your permission and simple communication with the other party asking them to cease such activities is not effective, you do have legal recourse and should consult with a skilled intellectual property attorney as soon as possible. You may have questions about what makes intellectual property yours, and technically, it is yours as soon as it comes into being—as soon as you or an employee or independent contractor make it. In some cases, this could be enough to fight against infringement, but depending on the value of the items at hand you may not ever want to take that risk.
The other party may have considerable or unforeseen resources to fight you, even if they have taken what was your original creation. That could make suing more challenging if you have not applied for registration or licensing. Again, this is a job for your attorney, who can advise you on what type of applications and licenses to pursue, whether from the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office, the U.S. Copyright Office, or other entities for items like domain names and more.
The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!