Intellectual property theft is a serious issue that can cost you and your company millions of dollars. Part of the problem is that it can take on a wide range of forms, meaning you must know your rights and remain constantly vigilant to see if anyone violates them -- and the law.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), intellectual property can include creative expressions, inventions and ideas. More specific examples include:
- Proprietary products
- Trade secrets
The average person probably is most familiar with media-based intellectual property violations, such as downloading a song or a movie without paying for it. This practice is common, and the overall burden felt by the entertainment industry is enormous.
However, any business owner should realize the cost of losing what makes your company unique. Maybe it's an invention you came up with that gives you a product that no one else offers. Maybe your trade secrets include the blueprints for a product design or the recipe for a food product.
When someone steals this type of information, they can then undercut everything you have worked so hard for, stealing all of the time and effort you put in to get to that point. They can also wind up stealing your direct customers and devaluing your brand.
Naturally, this type of theft is illegal, and you have some protections under the law when it happens. Make sure you can recognize intellectual property theft and that you know what steps to take. An experienced attorney can help you protect your rights.