Ways people can steal your intellectual property—legallyFebruary 5, 2016 12:16 pm Leave your thoughts
At The Law Offices of Donald W. Hudspeth, P.C., we want to make sure that your intellectual property and assets are protected. While theft can occur even if you have the recommended IP protection in place, certain careless actions can put your IP in danger and leave you without legal recourse. Here is a guide to the three main ways that people can legally take advantage of your IP for their own gain.
"Certain careless actions can put your IP in danger and leave you without legal recourse."
In the case of a franchise, a trademark owner can license out certain IP aspects to other entrepreneurs for their use, typically for an pre-arranged fee. This could include logos, brand names, or images associated with the trademark. If one of these franchisees uses their IP license carelessly in a way that was not intended or spelled out in your original petition for trademark, then the government could decide that your trademark no longer serves the role it was assigned for, resulting in total forfeiture of the IP.
Your IP is yours to determine how it is used assuming you actually use it. You cannot simply file a trademark and expect to hold it indefinitely without making use of it. This is considered "squatting" and, after a period of disuse (typically three years), may result in your trademark expiring. An exception to this is if the creator of the IP files a "intent to use" application, spelling out the way you are planning on using it down the line.
Almost as a cautionary tale about being too successful, a trademark can be lost if an IP becomes synonymous with a general class of product or service and thus is no longer specific enough to be defended as belonging single company. Trademarks like "aspirin," "zipper" and "kerosene" are examples of trademarks that over time saw popular adoption and now have become simply common parlance.
Don't let your IP go unprotected. Contact the business attorneys at The Law Offices of Donald W. Hudspeth, P.C. today.
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