Protecting intellectual property (IP) can require significant effort, considering how theft can happen in various and subtle ways. Unlike other tangible business resources, IP can be more fluid and more prone to theft, especially when daily operations involve sharing data and different types of company information. However, the levels of protection mandated by law can vary based on the measures taken by the owner to secure their IPs.
When determining IP theft threats, owners should consider risks associated with the nature of the business and its daily activities. Some examples of IP misappropriation and infringement can include diverse methods, including the following:
- Illegal distribution of various IP types online or through other transfer methods, such as exchanging CDs, DVDs and other storage devices
- Production and sale of counterfeit versions of a business’s products or services
- Trade secret leaks by someone from the company to external parties, such as competitors and other entities
- Unauthorized release of material meant for commercial purposes
For most cases of IP theft, businesses can file civil suits to address valid violations. But sometimes, these offenses can pass as felonies, depending on their details and severity. Additionally, criminal penalties can be necessary to exercise the business’s rights to their IPs and deter similar future incidents.
Taking measures against IP theft
IP theft can be challenging to resolve, especially if the offense already happened. These violations can have severe consequences, leading to significant damages. In these instances, prevention is critical to avoiding losses. When planning and implementing practices to protect IP, seeking legal counsel can be helpful. Doing so can help determine the most appropriate legal options to secure the business’s IP, considering all relevant risk factors.