Intellectual Property Litigation: Everything to Know
Intellectual property litigation is an avenue that creators can use if a person or company violates IP laws.3 min read updated on February 01, 2023
Intellectual property litigation is an avenue that creators can use if a person or company violates IP laws. IP laws are based in Article One, Section Eight of the U.S. Constitution. This section also bestows Congress to give exclusive rights to investors, and it allows Congress to regulate foreign and interstate commerce, allowing additional support for the right to legislate in such an area. IP laws that are passed via Congress are governed by two agencies: the U.S. Copyright Office and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
IP litigation solves disputes pertaining to safeguarded creations for the following:
- Artistic works
Because IP is protected under federal and state laws, such disputes are heard in courts at the national and state levels, including via arbitration or other alternative dispute settlements. Moreover, IP rights pose an international concern due to the global marketplace.
Intellectual Property Laws
Specifically, IP laws pertain to:
- Trade secrets
Such laws acknowledge an investor’s ownership of a creation and gives the innovators exclusive rights for a certain time period, and to benefit financially from such creations.
Patents involve the coverage of designs, products, or inventions. They also include the processes in which a product is used or manufactured. Depending on the invention type, a patent right can last up to 20 years. The qualifying items would include:
- New machinery
- Tech improvements
- Manufactured goods (including product visuals)
A patent infringement constitutes an unauthorized use of a patented invention, which would foster litigation from the creator. For instance, A “Hatch-Waxman” entails a certain type of patent dispute that involves brand-name and general pharmaceuticals, and the infringements of such patents.
Copyrights and trademarks can also be infringed upon. Trademarks comprise:
- Any name that labels a product source and separates it from others
Copyrights safeguard the following:
- Authorship works
Trademarks and copyrights give holders sole rights to use the works, and an unauthorized use of such works would result in litigation.
Trade secrets entail information that businesses wish to keep secret to gain an advantage over competitors. The misuse of trade secrets is a usual litigation situation when the information is divulged without consent of the business.
Licensing disagreements pertain to the violation of such protections. A licensing agreement is an agreement between an IP owner and any entity that’s authorized to use the rights in exchange for royalties or a fee. The extent to which parties follow or fail to follow the contract terms depends on the type of litigation. Aside from the aforementioned disputes, be aware of the following litigation variations:
- Knock-off commercial goods
- Domain name disputes
- Foreign customs seizures
- Unfair competition
What is Infringement?
Infringement pertains to the use of a product, idea, or secret without express permission from the owner. To protect against such violations, the owners must notify the world of the protections. Such a notice deters infringement by rendering an owner’s rights with greater visibility to those who would violate the owner’s rights by accident.
IP law deals with rules that enforce and secure legal rights, and the law also safeguards ownership to real estate and personal property. Also, IP law protects intangible assets. The aim of such a law is to incentivize people to create works that enhance society, ensuring that they can profit from such works without abuse from others.
Officials will deny patent protections if the product or invention in question is too obvious in design. Also, the rights will be rejected if they are not useful, or are offensive morally. Trademarks accomplish the following benefits:
- Avoiding confusion
- Preventing misleading advertising
- Helping consumers differentiate brands
Because the goal is to separate, solely descriptive and generic marks could not qualify. Moreover, rights do not have a limited lifespan, and these rights are gained through the use of a mark. Though not mandated, owners can register marks to get additional protections.
Copyright protections are not available for ideas or theories, including anything not captured within a fixed medium. The creation act itself pertains to unpublished works and produces a copyright within itself. The use of a copyright symbol and date is a common feature, but it is not mandatory. Most copyrights remain valid for the entire lifetime of the creators, including an additional 70 years.
If you have more questions on intellectual property litigation, submit your legal inquiry to our UpCounsel marketplace. UpCounsel’s attorneys will give IP owners more information on their rights and what they can do if someone violates their IP rights. Moreover, they will defend you in court if anyone violates your IP.