Intellectual Property FAQs

Protecting Your Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights

Frequently Asked Questions about Intellectual Property Infringement Actions

Securing a patent or completing a trademark or copyright registration is typically just the first requirement when seeking to protect your intellectual property rights. Simply owning a patent, trademark or copyright won’t prevent others from using your IP without your permission. To fully protect your rights, you’ll need to monitor the market for wrongful use and take steps to protect your rights when they are violated.

Here are some of the most common questions we get about intellectual property infringement actions.

What types of acts are considered to be infringing on an intellectual property right?

Intellectual property rights generally confer the right to control the use of the protected property. Patent rights are customarily violated when a subsequent invention uses a patented idea or process without permission. Trademarks may be violated by the wrongful use of a registered mark or by the use of a confusingly similar mark. Copyrights are infringed when copyrighted materials are used without permission or legal exception. The use can be intentional or unknowing, and need not be for financial gain.


Where do I go to get relief when my intellectual property rights have been infringed?

The federal courts have the exclusive right to resolve patent and copyright infringement actions. Though, as a practical matter, most trademark disputes are also heard by the federal courts, you can bring a trademark action in a state court.


Do I have to have a federal trademark or copyright registration to recover for my losses?

You cannot enforce trademarks or copyrights in federal court unless your mark or copyright is covered by a federal registration.


What types of remedies can I expect in an intellectual property infringement lawsuit?

The courts have significant latitude when presented with proof of intellectual property infringement. The court can order all infringing property or products confiscated, may issue a “cease and desist” order with respect to the protected property, and may require the infringing party to pay monetary damages to compensate you for lost sales or revenues.


How are damages calculated in an intellectual property infringement action?

Ideally, damages are determined based on the actual losses caused by the infringement. In patent claims, that typically takes the form of reasonable royalties and lost profits. With respect to trademark and copyright infringement, because damages can be difficult to ascertain, parties who have registered their mark or copyright are eligible to recover “statutory damages” without providing any proof of actual monetary loss. A trademark owner may recover anywhere from $1,000 to $200,000 per violation for the use of a counterfeit mark. A copyright owner may recover between $700 and $150,000 per work infringed.


Contact BLPLLC for Experienced Copyright Counsel

At BLPLLC, we have more than 20 years of experience handling all matters related to the registration and protection of copyrights. We can walk you through the steps to protect your expression of an idea by obtaining a federal copyright registration.

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