How to Protect Intellectual Property
- How to protect yourself and be sure not to infringe any IP law?
It is important to keep in mind all the different protection one can have concerning IP and be sure not to infringe on others protection. When launching a product or a service on the market, always check if:
- 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 countries may provide different levels of protection for your product or service.
If you are outsourcing some components of your product, make sure your subcontractor has the appropriate rights concerning IP. Normally when signing a contract with a subcontractor be sure to always have a clause on IP rights.
Additionally, be careful on the countries targeted by your products or services. Generally, an IP right is geographically limited, so you have to make sure where your market is and where you will sell your 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.
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- What to do if someone infringes your IP rights?
Make sure of the legitimacy of your requests. Every country has its own laws and jurisprudences, which can be very different from one country to another. For the Europe, you can check the enforcement section in national section of this website.
Fist action to take is trying to negotiate with the counterfeiter to see if he can either:
- Remove their products
- Change their products
- Pay you license
Some countries like the UK have a mediation system 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 go from €10.000€ to €500.000 or more.
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