Intellectual property protection allows the creators to freely share their creations with the public without permitting other people to reproduce them for profit. Typical examples of intellectual property include inventions, literary works, art and design, photos, symbols, logos, etc. Usually, violation of intellectual property rights occurs due to infringement of trademarks, copyright, and patents. It merits appreciation that creators of intellectual property have rights even when they have not filed for copyright or trademark registration. When someone violates their intellectual property rights, the owners of the properties can sue the offenders.
Sending A Cease and Desist Letter Can Be Effective in Protecting Intellectual Property
If you notice any violation of your intellectual property, you should instruct your intellectual property lawyer to send a cease-and-desist letter. These letters are effective because studies reveal only about 3% of the disputes land in court. According to experts, while you can send the letter by yourself, your intellectual property attorney should send it because it appears more authoritative and contains vital elements like a demand to stop the infringing activity immediately, details of when and how the infringement happened, the legal action envisaged if the violation does not end, and a deadline for responding to the letter.
Litigating to Protect Intellectual Property
If sending the cease-and-desist letter is not successful, the owner of the intellectual property can file a court case and engage in litigation to protect the trademark, copyright, or patent. You may need to litigate to settle a dispute regarding the ownership of the intellectual property, the occurrence of the alleged infringement, or the potential consequences of continued infringement, observes a senior partner at Strategic Law, a leading law firm.
The typical steps followed in IPR litigation include filing the case in court and serving the alleged infringer to allow them to respond in court. If they fail to respond, the court may issue a default judgment. Both parties involved can engage in discovery to access all relevant information from each other, including depositions by witnesses and opinions of experts. Each side can present their arguments and request summary judgment, however, when the facts of the case or the law remain disputed, the case will be tried before a judge or a jury.
While the court will rule after hearing the arguments and evaluating the evidence, both parties have the right to appeal. The aggrieved party can ask for injunctions, damages, attorney’s fees, treble, and punitive damages, however, the court will usually award additional damages only in cases of willful and malicious IPR infringement. Both parties can settle out of court at any time before the conclusion of the case.
The outcome of litigation depends on the kind of intellectual property and the circumstances of the case. Because litigation is typically long-drawn and expensive, mostly the parties settle disputes out of court. According to Forbes, you should consult experts on the best ways of protecting your intellectual property. In case, you have reason to believe that someone is infringing on the rights of your intellectual property, you should immediately consult an experienced IPR attorney and take appropriate steps to stop the infringement.