You are taking a crucial and important first step in taking your business in a new direction by attaining copyright, patent, or trademark protection. With proper claim to the ownership and rights associated with the success of your products and ideas, you can confidently market and advertise without worrying about someone stealing your invention. However, as you prepare to fill out and submit your application for protection, keep in mind that failure to plan carefully and create something authentic can result in infringement lawsuits that could hurt your success. Here are five simple tips to help you avoid the frustrating problems that could result when you infringe on the rights of someone else.
Understand Intellectual Property Forms
There are a variety of intellectual property “forms” including patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Each protects different aspects and each has different laws and uses. Your efforts to understand the differences in each of them can help you make wise decisions about the symbols, descriptions, and ideas you choose to release. Remember that just because something is protected under one intellectual property law, doesn’t mean it necessarily applies to the others.
Steer Clear of Fair Use
A critical mistake many people make is to rely on “fair use” policies and assume that something made public isn’t necessarily copyrighted or protected. More often than not, lawyers struggle to differentiate between the hearsay surrounding these kinds of cases. If you are ever doubtful whether or not something is copyrighted, request permission. It is well worth your time to seek more information now then to rely on your gut or fair use only to discover later on that you infringed on someone else’s rights.
Be Authentic and Creative
Perhaps the best way to avoid infringement of any kind, is to be creative and authentic in all of your work. Don’t be a copycat and casually alter or omit parts of someone else’s work. Doing so can be a death trap and leave you facing fines and other penalties. When you come up with a new design, document, or product, take your time to consider how you can make it entirely unique. Be creative to give consumers or readers something they have never before seen or heard.
Research Licensing Agreements
There is a lot of legal material regarding intellectual property protection. For example, licensing agreements go into detail regarding terms and conditions in which works can and cannot be used. While they may appear overwhelming or unnecessary, taking the time to carefully read them can provide you with insight that could prevent you from infringing.
Understand what Is and Is Not
Never assume that just because you have created something authentic, it will automatically be protected. Take the time to educate yourself and understand what is and is not protected. Follow the procedures outlined in your jurisdiction to obtain proper protection for your intellectual property. Being thorough and paying attention to detail can help you avoid missing something along the way and facing problems down the road.
Seek Legal Assistance
It is never a bad idea to seek the professional help of a lawyer who can walk you through the process of obtaining intellectual property protection. Lawyers have received significant education and have the knowledge to provide you with information about the laws, restrictions, rules, and regulations regarding patents, trademarks, and copyrights. They can help you draft your application and can double check your work to ensure nothing you are submitting will fall into the category of infringement. Infringing on the rights of another can have many serious consequences including fines, payment of damages, and even jail time. Avoiding infringement problems and staying out of trouble is heavily reliant on the time you take to be creative and follow the rules when applying for intellectual property protection. Using these tips, you steer clear of danger and be confident in the protection of your material.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.