When you believe another party has infringed on your intellectual property (IP), you must prove that the IP was yours in the first place and that the theft was not a “good faith” use. These two crucial steps will make a significant difference for your case should it go to trial.
How do you prove your IP is your IP?
There are many exciting aspects of intellectual property that we could cover, but one of the most important is when something becomes your IP. Intellectual property can be many things, including:
- Creative work
- Client lists
- Unique processes
- Marketing materials
These are just examples of copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks and patents. However, you don’t necessarily need to have completed the proper governmental filing in most cases. You need documentation proving that you created the process, especially if it is a creative work or trade secret. While patent and trademark fights are a bit more complicated, essentially, if you have documented development, that is a strong piece of evidence in your favor.
How do you prove your IP is stolen?
Creative work, such as writing or photography, or patented inventions are much simpler to discover as stolen; it is a comparison — your records and publishing/patent dates versus the other parties. However, with a unique process or trademarks, things get fuzzier. You would need to know if there was any way the other party could have learned your process externally.
How to prevent IP infringement?
In most IP infringement cases, things do not reach a courtroom. Often a cease-and-desist letter suffices to stop the infringing activity. However, if a letter is ineffective, you must prepare to pursue this as far as is necessary.