IP theft is considered a serious offense in the United States and Europe. This is because it costs billions of dollars to companies each year, while that money could have benefitted to the local economies. It's widely known that startups don't view IP protection as one of their top business priorities. This is precisely why they have become the preferred targets of both domestic and foreign fraudsters. There are two ways to deal with fraudsters: infringement warnings and lawsuits. The latter becomes inevitable when the thief has ignored the infringement warnings sent out previously.
Make sure your startup intangible assets are protected
Before taking any legal action, you should first make sure that your company's IP is registered with the right type of defense i.e. (copyrights, patents, or trademarks). This is very important because unregistered work isn't recognized as IP by courts of law. Things may even get a bit complicated if you wait too long to register your invention or concept since you won't be compensated for the losses incurred when your IP wasn't registered with the patent office.
What can you expect from an IP theft-related lawsuit decision?
The settlement for the damages caused to your company, if received, will depend on the court of law that rules on your infringement case. For example, if your IP protection was filed at the national level, then your case will be handled by a federal court. This means that the settlement package will be larger than what you would have received with a state IP protection. The main elements of a settlement package include:
- Reimbursement of all business-related losses and legal fees
- Payment of part or all of the profits that your fraudster generated by stealing your concept
Besides these two, the judge may also force the fraudster to pay additional fees to discourage them from stealing a business IP ever again.
IP infringement cases usually lead to financial compensation for the victims. Being protected will give you the legal means to punish your fraudster, and most importantly preserve the longevity of your company.