Business owners know that they must take proactive measures to protect their intellectual property. After all, intellectual property often supports the business, from a unique logo that boosts the brand to the ideas behind the products.
Unfortunately, there are some parties who seek to misappropriate or even steal a business’ intellectual property for their own gain. Though this is rare, it is an increasing risk. The FBI reports that it has become easier for other entities to steal intellectual property as technology advances.
If business owners suspect that another entity stole their intellectual property, there are a few critical steps they must take.
1. Document evidence of your suspicions
Intellectual property theft is rarely random. It often happens as a result of employees or partners leaking information or industrial espionage. So, business owners must conduct internal investigations to gather evidence about the incident.
Valuable pieces of evidence in intellectual property disputes often include:
- The original plans or documents, such as patent or trademark paperwork
- Documentation of how the other party used the property
- Any interactions with the other party
2. Request that the other party stop using the intellectual property
The next step is to contact the other party directly. You should draft a civil and formal request to demand that they stop using your intellectual property. In this request, it is helpful to cite:
- The evidence you gathered to prove your claim; as well as
- Relevant Texas or federal statutes that state your rights and protect your property.
You should also keep a physical copy of this request as well as the response. This can serve as critical evidence.
3. Speak with an intellectual property attorney
Regardless of how the other party responds to the request, business owners should contact an experienced intellectual property attorney in these situations. A knowledgeable business lawyer can help protect your business’ best interests, rights and future effectively in these complex business disputes.
4. Then, revisit your protective measures
It may be beneficial to update your company policies and regulations to protect your intellectual property in the future. Forbes provides several helpful tips to update protections, including:
- Controlling the access to your intellectual property
- Revising confidentiality agreements and policies
- Adjusting business strategies
This is a critical step to help reduce risk in the future and preserve your business’ ventures.