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What can I do if someone has infringed on my intellectual property?

| Dec 21, 2020 | Business Law |

Because intellectual property is so valuable to your business, protecting it with copyrights, patents and trademarks is essential. However, that will not necessarily prevent someone from using it. Another business may even use it without realizing it is infringement.

If you notify company that they are infringing on your intellectual property and they continue to use it, then review your available options to protect your property, as laid out by the U.S. Copyright Office.

File an action

You have the right to file an action in court and involve the legal system in stopping the theft of your intellectual property. You may need to serve a written notice that includes the copy of your complaint of infringement to everyone the case may affect.

Receive an injunction

The court can grant an injunction that orders all non-owning parties to stop using the intellectual property. It may be a temporary injunction pending a court case, or you could receive a permanent injunction if you provide proof of ownership. Even if the party is in another state, the court can enforce the injunction through proceedings in contempt. The court clerk will send the injunction to the district court where the enforcement must take place.

Obtain damages

To award you with actual damages and profits, the courts require proof of damages. Gathering and presenting evidence can become complicated, but if the amount is significant, it may be worthwhile to go this route.

Or, you may request statutory damages at any time before the court issues the final order. The court will determine how much is fair, and the amount for each infringed work may be between $750 and $30,000. If you can prove that the guilty party knew that the property was yours and used it willingly, the award could go as high as $150,000.

You may receive actual or statutory damages from the party that infringed your property, but not both.