How to Protect Intellectual Property
- How to protect yourself and be sure not to infringe any IP law?
When building an organization´s IP strategy and implementing it in a practice it is worth to keep in mind all the different protection methods, steps and rules one can have concerning IP and be sure not to infringe on others protection. When entrepreneurs launch a product or a service on the market, the best is always to check next four recognized rules:
- No other product of the same kind have the same trademark registered
- Your product doesn’t use an in force patent or utility model
- You don’t reproduce any design
- You don’t infringe any copyright/Authors' rights/Geographical indication
Be careful, in some countries like the United States, software can be registered. So please check if other foreign countries may provide different levels of protection for your product or service and their registration.
If you are outsourcing some components of your product, make sure your business subcontractor has the appropriate rights concerning IP. Normally when signing a trade contract with a subcontractor be sure to always have a clause on IP rights.
Additionally, be careful on the countries targeted by your work - products or activities. Generally, an IP right is geographically limited, so you have to make sure where your market is and where you will sell your commercial products or services.
When you are sure your product is not infringing any legal law, the best thing to do is to protect yourself by registering your trademarks, patents, etc. In case of litigation, registered rights (where applicable), even if your trademark grow notorious, are easier to defend when at court.
If you think your product might infringe an IP right on a country, don’t always close the door to that country; you may find that you can negotiate licenses.
More information on:
- What to do if someone infringes your IP rights?
Companies needs to make sure of the legitimacy of their requests in order to legally defense their ideas, know-how, secrets, interests and consequently IPR. Every country has its own enforced laws, jurisprudences and measures, which can be different enough from one country to another. For the Europe, you can study the enforcement section in national section of this website.
First (and easiest) action to take is trying to negotiate with the counterfeiter to see if he can either (three options):
- Remove their products
- Change their products
- Pay you license (read more about licensing)
Some countries like the UK have a mediation system offering a good guidance and tutorials that can help you through the process.
If negotiation doesn’t succeed, the next step will be to go to the police/customs or courts. Depending on where your products are counterfeited, the costs of this kind of operation can globally go from €10.000€ to €500.000 or more.
More information (online guide):