From toys to technology, there is intellectual property in every industry. Learning from infringement cases that have costed multi-millions can help you make smart business choices.
Intellectual property includes copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks and patents. No matter how large or small your company is, an intellectual property attorney can help you take protective measures to secure anything from an original logo to a family recipe. Understanding some recent, yet rare cases can help keep you from infringing upon someone else’s work.
Barbie v. Bratz
Just a few years after the launch of MGA’s Bratz dolls, Mattel, owner of Barbie, sued MGA for copyright theft. Mattel won the $100 million lawsuit in 2008, because the jury agreed the creator of the Bratz doll designed it while still employed by Mattel.
However, this copyright theft decision proved to be invalid in a retrial. In 2011, a federal court jury in California found the previous decision did not hold true and that Mattel actually stole trade secrets from MGA. As a result, MGA received a little over $300 million dollars in damages.
Both California toy companies had to invest a lot in legal fees to achieve what they thought was fair. For businesses not quite as large, a case like this could tank the whole operation.
Motorola v. Hytera
Earlier this year, Illinois-based Motorola received $764.6 million in damages after China-based Hytera lost lawsuits regarding stolen trade secrets and copyright breach.
The jury found the global tech company was guilty of using Motorola’s trade secrets to make two-way radios and other products. The jury also deemed Hytera was guilty of using Motorola’s copyrighted source code in its products.
Separate claims that Hytera has infringed several patents are also pending.
Tech giants and individuals alike can be guilty of stealing intellectual property. As such, it’s crucial you check your own work for originality and protect your ideas.