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Basic steps for protecting intellectual property

In the salad days of piracy, the activity was very face to face. One craft, usually small and light, would outmaneuver a cargo-laden bigger vessel on the high seas and snatch the goods. Maybe with some bloodshed.

Today, piracy is most common in cyberspace. Anonymity reigns. Culprits don't have faces and they mask their IP address, the numeric designation identifying a user's location on the internet. There's no bloodshed, but estimates put the loss to the U.S. economy at between $180 billion and $540 billion.

That's why establishing and defending intellectual property rights is such a major issue. And yet, achieving the goal requires detecting instances of infringement, identifying the perpetrators, and then taking legal action to obtain compensation. This doesn't have to be a do-it-yourself job. Enlisting the services of a skilled attorney helps.

Experts agree that there is no silver bullet to guard against infringement, online or otherwise. Instead, they recommend committing to follow certain practices to counter would-be infringers. These include:

  • Employ blockchain technology for distribution of digital information.
  • Engage IP-focused police units (e.g.: National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center).
  • Be sure that all the players in one's payment chain are trustworthy and held accountable.

At the same time, many experts offer the reminder that intellectual property rights represent a tool, rather than a goal for holders. Having a copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret isn't enough. Their suggestions include:

  • Protect what you can by remaining silent about it until you have protection in place.
  • Be realistic about what can and cannot be protected.
  • Identify the goals you have and manage your IP rights strategically to achieve them.

But perhaps above all else, the experts agree that the process of obtaining the appropriate IP rights is more complicated than it might appear, so seek the help of a professional as soon as possible.

Don't risk losing your intellectual property rights by failing to act.

Register for patent, trademark or copyright protection by calling Kaufhold & Dix at 612-216-1161.

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