Regularly, we discuss the perils of companies that have their intellectual property abused.
That tends to involve loss of jobs, danger to consumers, money that’s unfairly diverted from IP owners to counterfeiters, damage to established or up-and-coming brands, and more.
The actual cost of all this fraud carries various estimates, but leading experts on IP theft estimate the total global cost to factor into the trillions. But what do we mean when we discuss intellectual property fraud? What are the specific areas violated and forms of intellectual property fraud you need to be aware of (so you can steer clear)?
Types of Fraud That can Cause Considerable Economic Damage:
- Copyright protects original works of creativity ranging from computer software to visual art, literary works, music and more. Copyright holders can do what they will with the covered work. The right starts from the time of creation, so making the legal right official depends on the volition of the creator. Those planning on distributing and otherwise using their work should register at the U.S. Copyright Office.
- Patents give rights for inventions and the subsequent production and selling, as well as use. Three kinds of patents -- design, utility and plant -- are obtained with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Utility patents cover a wide range of functions but must be of specific use and new in concept.
- Trade secrets include business info including a formula, process or device that businesses keep under wraps. That’s because you can’t secure protection on trade secrets with registration. These secrets are only as good as companies can keep secrets. These secrets may be algorithms, customer lists, survey results and various formulas.
- Trademarks are what’s most visible to the public and include symbols, words and designs for a brand. Drive down the road, turn on the television or surf the web and you’ll invariably come across several trademarked designs and phrases.
The ingenuity, creativity, money, sweat, education and time that go into these intellectual properties is typically quite substantial! Counterfeiters are those who seek shortcuts and are willing to steal in order to enjoy profits that do not legally or ethically belong to them.
Protecting What’s Yours
Once you register your intellectual property, it’s meant to be yours and only yours. While fraud on all counts of IP is nothing new, the opportunities online for intellectual property theft have been game-changing to say the least.
Some brands have a very long caseload list requiring ample resources detailing fraud. Luckily, while technology has added another wrinkle of complexity counterfeiters can use against you, there is extremely helpful electronic software available as a solution -- to help build successful cases.
Make it Easy
Are you currently building cases showing fraud against your IP? Many companies stand to save plenty of time and additional resources with Scout’s software, which streamlines workflow processes. As an enterprise-ready database, our software solution takes care of your caseload needs in one place.
See how intuitive our software will be for your fraud-fighting team. Schedule a free demo anytime.