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What constitutes infringement under intellectual property law?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2023 | Litigation

Someone’s original creations and concepts can be very valuable. Individuals may sell their creations to businesses, and many companies hire researchers or creative professionals specifically to generate new ideas or content to benefit their businesses. Those original concepts and creations often benefit from the protection of intellectual property law. People can copyright original works of art. They can trademark logos and images meant to represent an organization’s brand. They can also patent ideas, processes and products.

Beyond that, there are intellectual property laws that apply to trade secrets, which include any information that is not public knowledge that gives a business a competitive edge. Trade secrets might include recipes, special manufacturing processes or client lists. Like copyrighted creations, trademarked logos and patented ideas, trade secrets are vulnerable to intellectual property infringement by other parties.

What does such infringement usually entail?

Unauthorized use

One of the most common forms of copyright infringement involves one party, often a business, using the intellectual property of another person or organization without proper permission. Printing one brand’s logo on a t-shirt to sell and playing music by an artist in the background of a video without their permission are both examples of intellectual property infringement.

Making use of a patented idea or concept at a manufacturing facility without the consent of the patent holder or the payment of a licensing fee is another example. Trying to gain access to formulas and other trade secrets by paying off a competitor’s employees is another example of intellectual property infringement.

Any activity that involves the misuse of potentially protected intellectual property without the consent of the party that has rights to that property could result in financial damage to the party experiencing the infringement. If they discover the misuse of their concepts, logo or trade secrets, the party with intellectual property rights could take the party violating those rights to court.

How the civil courts handle intellectual property disputes

When there has clearly been an intellectual property violation, courts can issue an injunction effectively preventing the infringing party from continuing to engage in the same behavior. In cases where there has been provable financial damage, the party that had their intellectual property rights violated could also seek damages from the responsible party.

Learning more about intellectual property infringement with the assistance of an experienced legal professional can make it easier for companies and individuals to protect their intellectual property rights from the misconduct of others.