If someone were to sneak into your business and steal your equipment, you would probably fight tooth and nail to get it back.
As vigorously as you would protect your physical property, you should protect your Intellectual Property even more vigorously.
What is “Intellectual Property?”
Intellectual Property is a broad legal term which encompasses patents, trademarks, and copyrights. To perhaps oversimplify it, your intellectual property are the intangible things that make your business what it is. It is what makes your company unique and it is often what customers or clients think of when they think of your business. Trademarks, in particular, encompass the goodwill your company has earned through years of hard work and advertising.
Why is Intellectual Property Important?
It has been said that “image is everything.” This is particularly true for businesses, whether large or small. Are the burgers at a large fast-food chain any better than the ones you can get from the mom-and-pop burger stand down the street? Definitely not. But, a lot of people will choose the large fast-food chain simply because it is a brand (trademark) they know and trust.
It often takes years of research and development and lots of blood, sweat, tears, and money to develop a product or process and obtain a patent. The patent is there to protect that investment you have made and prevent others from profiting from your hard work and investment.
While physical property can be replaced, when someone takes your intellectual property it can have long-lasting implications. The thief profits based on your hard work and effort. The thief takes your customers because he can do it cheaper, since he is not recouping the costs from your long research and development. If another company uses your trademark, it can also confuse your customers who leave for your competitor without realizing it is a different company. All of this impacts your bottom line.
How to Protect your Intellectual Property?
The first step is identifying when your intellectual property is in danger. Always be on the lookout for other products or companies that are similar to yours. Even if another company doesn’t use exactly the same name or logo, ask yourself if it is “close enough” that it could confuse someone.
When you have identified a possible infringement of your patent, trademark, or copyright, it is important to seek out an experienced attorney. Intellectual Property law is a complex and highly technical area of the law. When dealing with patent issues in particular, it is good for your attorney to have some understanding of the science or mechanics behind the patent so they can better prepare your case. Call Goosmann Law Firm and talk to one of our experienced litigation attorneys today to fight to protect your intellectual property more vigorously than you would your physical property.