If you find that your intellectual property has been used without your permission or has been stolen, the first step here that you may think of is to ask the company or person to stop. However, it is possible that most of the time it may not work. Now, you will need to decide whether you want to take the issue to court or not.
At this time, the best idea here is to get legal advice from the best attorney like Aaron Minc who has specialized in the relevant area. With various areas of the IP law including trademarks, patents, trade secrets, and copy rights, it may get very complicated to understand your rights without professional legal help. An experienced and qualified attorney will help you in evaluating your options well and decide the best course of action. Read on and get informed about what you can do further.
Contact the Offender
Generally, the first step to follow after you discover that your IP has been used without permission or been stolen is contacting the offender. Your lawyer may send cease and desist letter that requests the person or the company to stop using the work that you own. The letter must include the following.
- Type of infringement
- Information about work that has been stolen or used without permission
- Action that you want to take. For instance, you may want the company or the person to remove the stolen material from the website and you may want them to stop using trademark.
It is even a good idea to include time limit to respond so that you know when you need to take further action if required. If someone uses confusingly the same trademark, you may even want to send trademark violation letter to the offender.
Pursuing Legal Action
Before you take any legal action in copyright infringement case, your work should be registered. If it isn’t yet registered, make it as soon as you can. After all, you cannot recover the damages for the work that is not registered.
Depending on the type of infringement, you might be able to file civil case or a criminal complaint or even both. Generally, trademark, copyright, as well as patent infringement can be handled in the civil court. Depending on facts of your case, the damage for which you have suffered, as well as other factors, you can get:
- Payment for all your losses
- Injunction to stop a person from continuing using your IP. It can even include removing the product from the market.
- Attorney’s fees
- Punitive damages
- Share all of infringer’s profits from use of IP
While most of the IP infringement cases can be handled in the federal court, if your case involves unregistered trademark, you may even have to file in the state court. Some of the IP theft cases can even be criminal. Piracy and counterfeiting are even criminal acts.
Your intellectual property attorney can help you in deciding if infringement of your work is criminal and where exactly to report it. Your attorney will help you file it as well as build strong case.