Intellectual property rights infringements are usually associated with large media producers these days. Everyday people sometimes find themselves in situations where their right to make money off of music, words, art or other intellectual property they rightfully own is infringed, as well. Lawyers can help to deal with the fallout of these situations.
When You Should Do It
The first step in filing one of these lawsuits is, as is the case with so many legal issues, to make sure that you have a valid case to pursue. In order for you to do this, you’ll have to establish that you have a right to the property and that you can identify how much you believe you were damaged financially by the infringement.
To avoid being in the unpleasant situation of trying to establish that you actually did produce the content that was infringed and not having documentation to back it up, you can get a copyright from the US Copyright Office. Once you have this, it establishes you as the originator and owner of whatever content applies and ensures that you have some legal standing.
For trademarks, you have to go to the US Patent and Trademark Office. You can do a search to see if anything you’re interested in patenting or trademarking already exists before you go ahead and pay the fees that apply.
As soon as you have an intellectual property worth copyrighting or trademarking, you should do so immediately. If you record a CD, copyright it. If you come up with designs for a great new product, patent them, even if they haven’t been prototyped or tested yet.
Make the Demands
Your attorney can send a letter to whomever is infringing on your intellectual property and tell them to quit using it immediately. This is one of the most useful services attorneys offer and, most of the time, it’s really quite affordable. Keep in mind that not everyone will respond to these letters, but you do have options in those cases.
Your attorney may recommend that you sue the infringing party for damages if they fail to stop using your content. In such a case, the attorney will need to put together all the evidence that you owned the property and that the other party has, in fact, infringed on your rights to it. At the very least, this should prevent them from using it any further and, if the case goes well, you may get paid for what they stole.