Intellectual property rights, for many people, don’t ring as true as tangible property rights. But those people don’t know just how influential and important intellectual property rights can be. Many famous entertainers make a lot of money simply because they own the rights to the artistic property they’ve created – in many cases, they make enough to live comfortably and never work another day in their lives. That makes intellectual property as tangible as any other type of property.
So what does that mean to you? It means you’ll want to protect all the intellectual property you create – books, screenplays, music, informational products, and everything else under the intellectual sun.
There’s just one thing: what if your rights get violated? How do you even know when they’re violated, and how can you be sure of the right course of action to take? Here’s a quick guide to intellectual property rights that will tell you exactly what you need to know.
Intellectual Property Fields
First, you need to know that there is a variety of fields and disciplines in which intellectual property can be created. The patent to a better faucet is intellectual property, but so is a screenplay that you sold to Hollywood. Each of these fields might come with their own laws and regulations – for example, a patent’s usefulness will differ from the trademark on an advertising slogan, and vice versa.
So how do you know when your intellectual property rights have been violated? You have to know the laws that govern your specific type of intellectual property. If anyone else uses your intellectual property for monetary gain without your permission, however, then you’ve generally got a case that you can build a lawsuit around.
But try to remember that intellectual property comes in many different forms, which is why it’s important to know just what your patent says, or what your trademark gives you. The better you understand your individual intellectual property, the better you’ll be able to diagnose when someone’s abusing it.
When Profit Is Made Without Your Permission
As we mentioned in the previous section, one of the most important distinctions of intellectual property is that you have the right to make money off of that property – and you alone. Sure, you can authorize other people to profit off of that intellectual property, but that’s with your permission. If anyone else is using your intellectual property to make money for themselves, and you didn’t grant them permission, then you know that your rights are being trampled on.
Building a good lawsuit against the offending parties will mean that you have to prove that your intellectual property exists, which is not a problem if you’ve taken the necessary precautions to do just that. Having your patent documentation or your trademark papers will help you to prove that the intellectual property exists and that the profits your competitors are making really belong to you. Educate yourself about intellectual property and you’ll be able to defend it against all comers.