When it comes to intellectual property, it is important to not forget IP that on the Internet. There is a vast amount of information online, with ads, videos, images, and more. This amount of data can make it difficult to tell the difference between what is real and what is fake. Although there are laws that protect a company’s intellectual property how do these laws apply to IP that on the web?
If you have questions about IP, contact a law firm to speak with an intellectual property attorney. They can answer all your questions, including how the web affects any IP you own. In the meantime, the following is a brief overview.
Is Misuse or Theft of IP Online Even Possible?
Not only is the illegal use of the intellectual property and protected material possible, it happens all the time as people try to reap the rewards by using the work of others. Some examples of this type of theft that made nationwide news include the following:
- Amazon’s patent infringement lawsuit filed against Barnes & Noble over the use of Amazon’s patented “1-click” shopping technology. This patent finally expired in 2017. The original patent was issued in 1999.
- Napster was a peer to peer online music sharing site that allowed users to download music for free. The site was finally shut down when songwriters and musicians were successful in their lawsuits against the company, arguing that the service violated copyright laws because it users were downloading the music – which was protected property – for free.
- Another issue that is an ongoing one is the online release of films that are stolen from movie studies by hackers. The illegal distribution of these films is a blatant violation of IP laws.
In order to protect your online intellectual property, there are legal steps you should take. Experienced patent attorneys can help you take these actions:
- Obtain copyright, trademarks, and patents for images, logos, music, and other proprietary or original materials and make sure that this information is given to the consumers and the general public, especially on your organization’s website.
- Make sure to establish and then publish policies that outline what the fair use of your material is. Make sure to clearly state the limits to which the public may use your protected work.
- Obtain protection for your trade secrets in order to bar competitors from using your designs, formulas, or innovations to create fake or look-a-like products that confuse consumers.
- If trade secrets are being made public, make sure to obtain patents in order to prevent the public or other entities from using this information.
By taking these steps, you may not completely prevent someone from illegally using your intellectual property illegally, but it may cause some individuals from thinking twice before doing so. It will also help solidify your legal position for the property should you need to initiate legal proceedings.