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IP registration is essential for infringement lawsuits

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Firm News

Intellectual property rights have become increasingly important in the digital age. Businesses and individuals invest significant resources into creating unique works and brands, only to find them misused or copied without permission. This is when patent, trade secrets, copyright and trademark laws protect these valuable assets. While registration is not mandatory, registering your IP enables plaintiffs to file an infringement claim.

Why registration matters

Before filing an infringement lawsuit, you must register your patent, copyright or trademark. It is not just a formality but a legal prerequisite for a lawsuit. Trade secrets are not registered, but companies must treat them as something that should not be common knowledge, such as needing a password for access, limiting access or otherwise protecting it by policy and actions.

When you register a patent, copyright or trademark, it becomes a matter of public record. This action can serve as a deterrent to potential infringers, who can easily verify the registered status of your work or brand. It also provides evidence in court, demonstrating your ownership and the registration date.

Which to use

The four general areas of IP are:

  • Patents protect inventions and designs such as machines, gadgets, tools and functional things.
  • Trademarks protect business identities, such as logos, names, slogans, etc., that identify a particular product or company.
  • Copyrights protect expressions such as movies, artwork, literature, writings, music, images and software.
  • Trade Secrets protect proprietary information like secret formulas/recipes, confidential customer lists and other confidential business information.

The consequences of not registering

Without registration, your options for legal recourse are significantly limited. You may not be able to file a lawsuit, and even if you can, it can limit the amount of damages you can claim. In some cases, registration can entitle you to statutory damages and attorney’s fees in an infringement lawsuit. Without it, you may only be able to claim actual damages, which can be challenging to prove and may not fully compensate you for your loss.

Legal guidance can yield results

While the registration process may seem daunting, it is a crucial step in protecting your intellectual property rights. By understanding its importance and seeking professional advice, you can navigate the legal labyrinth and protect your creative works and brands in the courts.