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What kinds of intellectual property infringement exist?

Intellectual property (IP) includes music and creative arts, films and film design, software development and customer databases built up by businesses. Unfortunately, there exists property infringements such as unlawful  copyrighting, theft and resale of another person’s property.  What also exists is the  ‘passing off’ someone’s invention as the property of a third party without consent from the originators. So, how can you protect your inventions as intellectual property?

Protecting your IP gives you exclusive rights and ownership for a definitive period of time. This is usually about twenty years and it gives you enough time to gain the maximum benefit and/or profits from your work. Twenty years is a long time. Within this time, you are vulnerable to people who exploit your inventions sometimes against the IP laws in your jurisdiction.

IP law includes looking at things like patents, copyright, and trademarks, and trade secrets. These can be complex areas requiring attention to detail.  How would you know what kinds of intellectual property infringements exists? It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with these types of legal protection for your business, but more importantly do research and get legal advice.

What kinds of infringement are there?

The Trademark Act describes infringements or the unauthorised use of works or services by a third party.

Here are some examples of infringement and/or passing off someone else’s work as your own.

  • Others make your product and gives it a different brand.
  • Your products or services are misrepresented with information that discredits your invention.
  • Organisations or individuals make copies of your invention or sell your secrets for commercial gain.
  • Businesses or freelancers brand your trademark on their products
  • Someone sells your protected designs without permission or licence.

People who sell using a similar trademark or product to yours end up confusing the consumer, causing you financial loss or loss of reputation.

What are the penalties for copyright infringement?

Copyright can be pursued as a civil or criminal claim. You can claim damages for the loss of your finance and/or reputation. You can even claim for an injunction or removal of the goods or services in question.  Finally, a malicious or reckless infringement of someone’s intellectual property can be a serious to be a criminal offence.

How can you protect your work from passing off infringements?

There are lawyers specialising in each of the four main areas of intellectual property law. If you need to use a copyright lawyer, trademark protection lawyer; trade secret lawyer or patent lawyer, contact one of our consultants to get started.

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