Many businesses in Nevada and elsewhere are built on good ideas. At the Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd., we know that you have spent time and money to see your ideas become reality and to develop your brand, business methods, services and products. If you do not take steps to protect your intellectual property, however, others may take your ideas and use them as their own. In fact, stopfakes.gov reports that counterfeiting costs U.S. companies between $200 and $250 billion each year.
One of the first steps you should take to protect your ideas is to conduct an intellectual property audit. Through such audits, you will document the assets you own and those you are acquiring, as well as how you are using others’ intellectual property. This step prepares you to make decisions regarding which of your assets you will need to protect.
You may use patents, trademarks and copyrights to legally establish your intellectual property as your own. Patents are typically used to protect new inventions, discoveries or improvements of a process, manufacture, composition of matter or machine. Trademarks generally protect names, words, sounds, symbols or colors that distinguish your goods and services from those made by others. Copyrights may be used to protect works that you have authored, whether they are published or unpublished. Taking this step may provide you with legal recourse in the event another person or business steals your ideas and markets them as their own.
In order to identify fakes on the market, it is important for you to monitor the use of your intellectual property. You should visit the market regularly and monitor domain names to look for people using your ideas without your permission. Additionally, you may consider using track-and-trace technology and Internet search engines to identify counterfeit goods and services.
It is important for you to be familiar with your administrative and legal options for enforcing your intellectual property rights. This will help you understand what actions you may take in the event someone steals your ideas. Taking such steps may help you remove counterfeit products from the market and send the message that you will enforce your property rights.
For more information on intellectual property, please visit our Trade Secret Litigation page.