Intellectual Property Infringement Lawyer
The U.S. is a powerhouse when it comes to producing innovative ideas. To encourage individuals to come up with powerful ideas, federal and state laws offer protections in the form of trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. Many successful businesses have encountered competitors copying their ideas or infringing on their intellectual property (IP) rights. Unfortunately, in many IP-related cases, they get away with it.
If you believe your intellectual property rights have been infringed upon, you may seek sound legal counsel from experienced intellectual property infringement lawyers who can help you go through your legal options. The attorneys at Fridman Law Firm help entrepreneurs and businesses handle a range of intellectual property matters, from copyrights to trademarks. So if your idea has been wrongfully used or obtained, call us now at 212-262-9823 to book an appointment.
What Is Intellectual Property Infringement?
The unapproved use, duplication, or distribution of assets that the owner regards as intellectual property constitutes intellectual property infringement. IP infringement is an encroachment on the exclusive rights awarded to the owner of the IP, including copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets.
Infringements can happen in various ways, such as duplicating, displaying, distributing, or selling legally protected intellectual property. In some instances, infringement can be accidental or unintentional, while in other circumstances, it may be willful, premeditated, or deliberate. No matter the circumstances, you can take action to recover actual damages and profits the infringer may have gained by consulting an experienced intellectual property infringement lawyer.
Difference Between Infringement and Breach of Contract
An intellectual property license authorizes a licensee to use a licensor’s IP, enabling them to capitalize on and defend their intellectual property rights. So when two businesses enter into an IP licensing agreement, and a disagreement breaks out over how the licensee used the IP, the licensor can hold the licensee culpable. The licensing agreement will stipulate the terms and conditions of the scope of use of the IP, together with the reimbursement the licensor may recover from the licensee.
The extent and type of violation will establish if it is an infringement, a breach of contract, or both. The difference matters since the remedies for contract damages differ from those for IP infringement. Although it may not always be evident from the start whether some aspects of license usage are an infringement of IP rights or a breach of contract, our intellectual property infringement lawyers can offer explicit guidance on how they can be distinguished.
Exclusive or Non-Exclusive
When a party (or parties) fails to uphold the terms of a contract agreement, such as payment terms, a breach of contract occurs. In cases where the licensee has been given an exclusive license, the contract transfers ownership of IP rights to the licensee for the duration of the contract. This makes unlicensed usage of the IP simply a breach of contract. This rationality comes from taking into account that an exclusive license transfers ownership of all IP rights.
Here, the licensee exclusively owns the rights to use and commercialize the IP and is not infringing on the IP licensor’s rights. That said, any intellectual property used beyond the scope of the contract is considered a breach of contract rather than an infringement.
On the other hand, infringement refers to a violation of a right or a law. In the case of a non-exclusive license, if the licensee acts beyond the scope of the contract, they will have committed an IP infringement and may be liable for damages.
Contract Covenant or Condition Precedent
A contract covenant is an unconditional statement that usually contains the words “undertake,” “agree,” “assume,” or “promise.” When a licensee encroaches on a contract covenant, it may be considered a breach of contract, making the licensee liable for losses.
A condition precedent implies that an action must happen before the condition is implemented, likely leading to license infringement. A good illustration is the common use of the words “conditional upon” and “subject to” when describing contingency loans. This implies that the condition doesn’t materialize unless the preceding situation or event occurs. When such a condition or promise isn’t kept, certain IP rights may be lost. Consequently, the use of the IP may be deemed an infringement.
What Are the Penalties for Infringement?
Actual and statutory damages may be available to the IP owner in an IP infringement case, depending on whether the violation is treated as an infringement or a breach of contract. Punishments for infringement may include criminal and civil penalties that your intellectual property infringement lawyer can help you pursue. Anybody considered liable for civil infringement may be subject to paying statutory damages of at least $750 and not exceeding $30,000, as the court considers just. If the court determines that the infringer committed the crime willfully, it may award additional statutory damages of up to $150,000. This is done at the court’s discretion.
Victims of IP infringement may also recover actual damages and profits as a result of the infringement.
What Does an Intellectual Property Infringement Lawyer Do?
If you find out that your intellectual property has been used without your approval, you need to take prompt action to hold the responsible party liable for their actions. If you request the company or individual to stop and it doesn’t work, you should consider enlisting an IP infringement attorney to help you navigate the complex world of IP law. At Fridman Law Firm, our intellectual property infringement attorneys can help by:
- Evaluating the claim. Our attorneys will assess the full extent of the infringing actions and determine the best way forward.
- Send an effective cease and desist letter demanding the company or individual stop using your work.
- Assess and establish losses, possible losses, and available remedies.
- Drafting IP contracts. An IP attorney will assist in formulating license agreements, transactions, and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to strengthen your defense in the event of an IP infringement.
- Carry out IP audits to spot and review your IP risks and loopholes that others may take advantage of.
- Representing you or your company in all IP dealings, including negotiating and solving IPR infringement issues.
Tips for Protecting Your Intellectual Property
Protecting your intellectual property is a way to guarantee the financial future and success of your company since you will be protecting your unique ideas, services, and products. There are numerous ways to safeguard your intellectual property, some of which include:
Register Your IP Rights
Registering your IP with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and taking legal ownership is the best and most effective way of safeguarding your intellectual property. Depending on your IP, you may have to take advantage of different types of protection, like copyrights, patents, design rights, and trademarks. Registration can prevent possible infringers from imitating your IP or using it without permission.
Document Your Discoveries
In this digital era, leaks are common. Having a record of your innovations and discoveries can help prove your ownership and legitimacy. Documentation may include records of the dates of your ideas, specifications of your creations, contributions and names of co-inventors, and methods used to come up with the invention.
Draft Strong Non-Disclosure Agreements
An NDA will prevent the involved parties from disclosing confidential details of the intellectual property as set out in the agreement. Also known as a confidentiality agreement, this legally binding contract protects your intellectual property from misuse, disclosure, or exploitation by third parties without your consent.
Contact Fridman Law Firm for Legal Guidance With Intellectual Property Infringement Matters
Comprehending the full extent of IP violations may be difficult for both the licensee and the licensor. The experienced business lawyers at Fridman Law Firm can accurately evaluate all types of IP infringements and develop the best legal courses of action that benefit clients.
If you suspect you may be the victim of intellectual property infringement or charges of IP infringement have been brought against you, please don’t hesitate to contact our intellectual property infringement lawyers at 212-262-9823 to book a consultation. You can also fill out our online contact form to get started.