Intellectual property (IP) is the creator’s ideas and concepts, which has commercial and moral value. The creator legally gets exclusive right to use, create, or sell specific kinds of intellectual property like logos, designs, software, music, recipes, and more.
Countries provide creator’s exclusive rights protection in the form of copyrights, trademark, patents, and trade secret.
What is IP infringement?
Intellectual property rights violation with regards to copyright, patents, trademarks or trade secrets is called ‘infringement’. It can be regarded as breach or criminal or civil law. Basically, depends on the kind of intellectual property involved, nature of action, and the jurisdiction. Let’s get familiar with the different kinds of intellectual property infringement.
Kinds of IP infringement
- Patent infringement
The only reason to get a patent approved is to obtain monopoly on the creation described in patent specification. Generally, patent is said to be violated, when every element specified in the claim are found in a purportedly infringed process or product. It means another person besides the patent holder cannot use, make, import, or sell product without permission. Patent infringement are of different kinds including –
- Doctrine of equivalents
Patents are protective but only in the country, where it is in force. A patent approved in the US is limited to people living in the United States, but people from other countries are free to exploit this patented creation in their country.
Common copyright items include music, movies, TV shows, magazines, books, and websites. Authors are generally copyright owners of their original and creative works. They can litigate the person for breaching their exclusive rights. For example, illegal download of music from website is regarded as copyright infringement.
Common types are –
- Giving public performance
- Making an adaptation
Trademark is a phrase, symbol, or word used to recognize a specific seller’s or manufacturer’s products. It distinguishes their products from competitors. Rather than reading fine prints consumers just look at the trademark and buy. Trademark is protected by Federal and State law.
Trademark needs to be arbitrary, descriptive, suggestive, or generic to acquire trademark rights. Trademark infringement standard is ‘possibilities of confusion amongst consumers’. The court assesses different factors like –
- Mark strength
- Goods proximity
- Marks similarity
- Evidence of real confusion
- Defendants intention
- Employed marketing channels similarity
Trade secret misappropriation
Trade Secret of a business includes a practice, formula, design, process, pattern, instrument, collection of data or commercial method, which is not known to others and through which an organization obtains financial advantage over competitors or consumers.
Trade secret misappropriation occurs, when another person illegally acquires, discloses, uses trade secret without approval or accidentally. It is not an intentional action but happens due to negligence. Improper ways to obtain trade secret are –
- Industrial espionage
- Nondisclosure agreement violation
Business owners need to take precautionary steps and maintain the privacy of their trade secret.