International Intellectual Property Legal Blog

Common counterfeit products

Most people are aware of counterfeit money and fake handbags, but there are numerous other counterfeit items that result in high cost to the global economy. If you have an idea of common types of products that are counterfeit, you may learn to have a more discerning eye the next time you shop. 

According to USA Today, counterfeit products have a global financial impact of around $250 billion a year. Luxury items are especially vulnerable to imitation, and the quality is such that the costs of many products are similar to the originals. The most common counterfeit products are wallets and handbags, with jewelry and watches coming in second. Other common fake items include:

  • Electronics
  • Accessories
  • Clothing
  • Foot apparel
  • Computers
  • Labels
  • Optical media

What should I know about a cease and deist letter?

If you own a business and you find out that another company or party is using your intellectual property (IP) without your permission, whether domestically or internationally, you probably want to take action to secure your rights. If so, you will likely need to understand what a cease and deist letter is. Many IP cases start by sending one of these documents to an infringing party to alert them of their infringement and to stop.

QuickBooks explains that a cease and deist letter should consist of several important parts. You need to address the letter to a particular person or a position within the infringing company and explain the instance where and when you saw your IP being used without your permission. The letter should specify a clear action for the other party to take. For example, you may want the other party to stop using your company logo on the party’s website. The action should come with an ultimatum that is reasonable. You should make it clear that you may pursue further action if the party does not comply.

Trade secrets and the betrayal of former employers

Trade secret theft can have significant consequences and many businesses have been damaged as a result of the misappropriation of trade secrets. When confidential business information is misused, competitors may gain an unfair advantage and companies that are targeted by this behavior may be affected so much that they are prompted to shut down. Trade secret theft happens for many reasons and in this write-up, we will look into the theft of trade secrets by former employees who decide to betray a company they used to work for.

There are many possible motivating factors when it comes to the betrayal of former employers. Some former employees may hold a grudge against someone they used to work for, while others may be motivated by financial incentives at their new place of employment. Regardless, this is an extremely serious violation that can have a massive impact on its victims, and former workers who have broken the contracts they signed should be held responsible for their actions.

Remain aware of patent trolls

Providing appropriate protection for your concepts is just one part of running a successful business. But when working to secure your market share, as well as your bottom line, you must remain alert to those who try to sneak in to claim the benefits of your labor.

In some cases, patent trolls may be waiting to sue your company for infringing on their conceptual rights, regardless of whether what you offer has anything to do with their patent in question. Since patent litigation can be complex, time-consuming and costly, many companies simply agree to settle, rather than engaging in a seemingly unnecessary court battle. However, it is possible that a company claiming to have a patent on your product does not hold its weight in actual worth.

How do I honor an NDA?

Nondisclosure agreements are used in the business and creative industries to protect confidential information. However, signing an NDA has become such a standard practice that few people give it much thought anymore. Because of this, you may believe that your only responsibility after signing on the dotted line is to not intentionally share the information with anyone.

However, that is only half the truth. Most nondisclosure agreements also include provisions to discourage negligence. Negligence may include leaving important blueprints lying around on a dinner table or allowing family members to use a computer where confidential files are accessible.

What to include in a nondisclosure agreement

When you own and operate your own business, making smart hiring decisions is arguably just as important as protecting your business’s trade secrets. In fact, both efforts go hand-in-hand, because the people you hire to represent you are the same ones you must entrust with the ideas, formulas and other elements of your business that give you a leg up on the competition. At Bilicki Law, we recognize that drafting a strong nondisclosure agreement is your first line of defense against trade secret litigation, and we have helped many people navigate this and other issues relating to protecting intellectual property.

According to Forbes, having a solid nondisclosure agreement in place is important anytime you plan to grant employees access to proprietary information about the inner-workings of your business. Such an agreement need not be long and unnecessarily complicated. Instead, the most effective and strongest nondisclosure agreements are often those that run only a few pages in length or less.

Addressing unfair competition

In the business world, dealing with competition is part of life. However, there are times when competition is not only challenging but unfair and illegal as well. If your business is struggling with unfair competition, it is pivotal for you to explore any legal options that may be in front of you and hold responsible a competitor that has violated your rights. There are many different ways in which businesses gain an unfair competitive advantage, from false advertising to imitation and spreading rumors. Regrettably, these deceptive business practices can have serious implications and have led to significant losses in many instances.

If you suspect that unfair competition has adversely impacted your business, it is very important to stand up for your rights as a business owner. Some business owners may not realize the options they have, or feel as if going to court would be too difficult due to business-related stressors that already wreak havoc on a daily basis. However, our law office firmly believes that businesses which use these tactics should be held accountable for the damage they have caused.

Addressing patent infringement involving chemicals

The rights of business owners are violated in all sorts of ways, and infringement is a serious problem. Unfortunately, infringement takes on many forms and can impact companies across a variety of industries. When people think of infringement, they may envision motion pictures, trademark issues or computer code. However, it is essential to realize some of the other ways in which infringement occurs. For example, infringement may involve chemicals, such as the misuse of an innovative chemical product. If your business is struggling with patent infringement, it is crucial to look into potential legal solutions as soon as possible.

There are many different ways in which patent infringement involving chemicals may transpire. For example, perhaps a pharmaceutical company has come out with a new drug only to find that their hard work has been stolen. Or, perhaps a company has created an innovate chemical, such as a de-icing product, only to find that a competitor has taken advantage of their hard work. There are multiple industries and types of businesses which may have to watch out for patent infringement in this regard, and other types of infringement that could threaten the company as well.

False allegations of copyright infringement

Copyright infringement takes all sorts of forms, and this is particularly true in the digital era. Some people and businesses may unknowingly violate copyright law, while others may do so thinking that they will never be caught. Furthermore, some businesses are falsely accused of copyright infringement, which can happen for different reasons. For example, a competing business may want to tarnish the reputation of the company or there may be a major misunderstanding. Either way, these cases need to be handled appropriately since there is so much at stake.

If you run a business and have been accused of copyright infringement even though you believe that the charges are baseless, it is pivotal to go over the details of the alleged incident(s) very carefully. You should have a good understanding of all of the legal options that are available to you and do all you can to have the truth brought out in court if litigation is unavoidable. However, some business owners may be able to stay out of the courtroom by discussing the situation with those accusing them of this violation (even though this is not a good idea or even possible in some instances).

Dealing with multi-jurisdictional infringement

Copyright infringement can be incredibly challenging no matter the circumstances, but some cases can be very hard to work through. For example, multi-jurisdictional infringement can present a number of hurdles and if you are dealing with a case like this, it is imperative to take the right approach. The laws can vary from one jurisdiction to another and there are other potential hurdles to work through, including differences with respect to laws in one country to the next and even the distance of one jurisdiction to another. It is very important to carefully handle these types of cases and understand what may be at stake.

First, business owners may have a hard time when it comes to making sense of the laws in another jurisdiction. After all, someone who is already tied down with work and day-to-day commitments may not be able to devote much time to reviewing legal matters in another jurisdiction. If this is something you are struggling with, it may be helpful to consult with a legal professional who knows the ins and outs of these matters. Depending on the outcome of your case, your business could be impacted significantly.

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