Intellectual property protected by patents and copyrights can hold enormous value to a company. It can be the thing that distinguishes them from their competitors and identifies their products or services as legitimate.
Because of this, there can be harsh consequences for parties who violate intellectual property (IP) rights through infringement.
Financial and legal remedies for infringement
When a party infringes on the IP rights of someone else, they can face a range of penalties. The financial consequences can include:
- Payment of damages and profits to the other party
- Fines and penalties
- Court costs and legal expenses
- Destruction of illegal works and products
On top of these financial repercussions, infringing parties can also be facing jail or prison time as well as criminal monetary penalties.
Understanding enforcement practices
Copyright and trademark holders have rights over their works. These rights dictate who can lawfully use, sell or license protected material. If parties discover or suspect copyright or trademark infringement, they can enforce their rights by first notifying the infringing party with a cease-and-desist letter.
If the infringers continue to misuse IP or disagree over the legal violations, the parties can voluntarily resolve their disputes through mediation or arbitration. In some cases, an existing contract between parties may require them to pursue these alternatives to litigation.
Should these efforts fail or are not an option, parties can resolve the issue through judicial proceedings.
Protecting your business and your brand
If you suspect infringement, speaking with an attorney as soon as possible is crucial. If you wait to take action, you could be contributing to a dilution of your brand and financial consequences.
In many cases, a cease-and-desist letter will suffice in stopping infringement or prompting discussions to negotiate a licensing agreement.
Intellectual property in the form of copyrights or trademarks is worth protecting. When you understand the consequences of infringement and how parties can enforce their rights, it can help you safeguard your creative, identifying works.