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Intellectual property law protects your inventions and creative content through copyrights, trademarks, and patents. But someone might still use your work without your permission. The most common type of intellectual property theft is content theft, especially content posted online. Thankfully, there are ways in the USA to protect your inventions and content.
Registering your trademark or patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
Proving your ownership is easier when you register, patent, or copyright your work with USPTO. Patent and trademark registration is the most effective way of preventing someone from claiming your inventions, brand names, and logos as their own.
The first step to protecting your intellectual property assets is finding out whether someone else has already registered the invention, content, or brand. Copyright are the exception in this case because you don’t register for a copyright with the USPTO. Registration of copyrights is done at the US Copyright Office.
Monitoring the use of your work
Theft of industrial trade secrets is on the rise. However, the most common type of intellectual property infringement is use of other creators’ images and written material without permission. In most cases, actively monitoring the use of your content is the only way to detect when someone misappropriates your content.
You can find out if someone is using your written content online by searching it on Google or using plagiarism detection services.
Sending a Cease and Desist Letter
If you find out the someone is misappropriating your work, sending them a Cease and Desist Letter is among the first steps to take. Verbal requests are ineffective. It’s best to use a Cease and Desist Letter as it serves as an official record of your request. In the event of a lawsuit, you want to have your correspondence to be in written form.
There’s no federal or state requirement for the number of Cease and Desist Letters you can issue. You’re allowed to file a lawsuit the moment you find out someone has violated your intellectual property rights, but that’s not the best way to handle it.
In most cases, even if you settle out of court, the process may come at substantial financial cost. Registering the lawsuit can cost up to $200, depending on the state, not to mention service of notice costs. When the Cease and Desist Letters fail to work, use a reputable law form such as RC Enterprise legal services to file a lawsuit.
Issuing an Assertion of Rights Letter
If you fail to assert your right when you discover that someone is misappropriating your work, it can be interpreted as implied consent. As a result, you might inadvertently waive your right to take further action. The rationale is that if you become aware that someone is using your work and you don’t take any action to assert your rights, your failure to act is taken to be consent on your part.
Even if you don’t want to send a Cease and Desist Letter, it’s a good idea to send an Assertion of Rights Letter. This letter indicates that you’re aware that they are using your work and requests for attribution. It also affirms that they can use the content but that you haven’t given up any rights to it.