You may have just started your own business or been running one for many years. In either situation, you will have invested plenty of money, time, and effort into building your own company and the products that you sell. If you see ideas that you made being stolen by competing companies, it can feel devastating. If you have not taken the time to trademark or copyright elements that are crucial to your business, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do about this legally.
Can You Take Legal Action for Stolen Ideas?
When you were starting your business, your initial thoughts may not have been about protecting the publicity material or products that you were creating. However, there are some things you can do early on in the creation of your business to help you take action against perpetrators that might want to steal from you. This can be done by filing for a patent, trademark, or copyright.
If you did not go through the process of protecting your ideas or products, it's possible to request that a court forces the other business to refrain from copying what your company is doing. This requires gathering evidence that your company first developed those concepts in addition to evidence that proves the perpetrator knew what they were doing by copying from your company.
In addition, you can request financial damages that will help give you compensation for lost revenue directly related to the theft as well as legal fees. You will also need evidence that demonstrates the extent of your losses.
Can the Perpetrator Claim Fair Use as a Defense?
It's possible that the perpetrator may claim that the use of your ideas should be considered fair use. Fair use is a doctrine that states how a person can use intellectual property, logos, or promotional materials without any penalty if the purpose of using it was for education, journalism, or nonprofit purposes. For instance, a journalist could report on your business in the newspaper and use your logo.
Thankfully, fair use does not apply if your property is used for the purpose of making a profit. If this is the situation, you will need the help of an attorney that can help defend your copyrights, patents, or trademarks. This will help ensure that the perpetrator is forced to stop using them and then compensate you for the loses that you incurred.
Schedule a consultation with a trademark lawyer for more information.Share