When most people think of business theft they think about robberies, shoplifting, or embezzlement. However there’s a much more devious type of theft that can happen to business owners that most people don’t think much about.
It’s called intellectual property theft and way too many companies do not do enough to prevent their intellectual property from being stolen. Then when it does happen they may not do anything about. That’s because they may not realize the implications of the theft and how much it could end up costing them.
Intellectual property theft is the misuse or theft of proprietary information.
Some examples are:
Trademarks protect a company’s name, logo, product names, package designs, and slogans.
2. Trade secrets
Trade secrets protect things like a restaurants signature recipes.
Copyrights protect things like computer code, video and audio recordings, and written material.
Patents protect discoveries and inventions.
How Much Can Intellectual Property Theft Cost a Company?
Even though trademark infringement, copyright violations, and other types of intellectual property theft might not cause any immediate financial losses they can ultimately be even more costly than physical thefts.
Records from the U.S. Department of Justice from this past decade show that when intellectual property theft defendants were convicted more than half of them had stolen intellectual property valued at more than $70,000. In addition, there were awards of a minimum of half a million dollars for almost 60% of the cases.
If your company has a slogan the only way that you will be able to protect it from being stolen is by having it trademarked.
After your slogan is trademarked you will always want to mark it clearly.
There are two basic trademark symbols. If you haven’t registered it (which you should), you can garner some protection if you use the basic trademark symbol every time that the slogan (or your product name, etc) is mentioned.
After you register a trademark you can then use the symbol wherever it is appropriate.
If you have found that your trademark has been infringed upon on one of your websites your company can send a “DMCA notice” to the company that hosts the offending entity’s website. This notice, which is part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), should also be sent to the search engines and any other related parties.
The notice should force the hosting provider to remove the content. When the search engines receive the notice they may de-index the website so that potential new visitors will not be aware that the offending website even exists.
Whether trademark infringement has happened on line or off line you should also consider sending a cease and desist letter that details the trademark infringement and requests that the offending party promptly remove it and discontinue its use.