As an artist, you put a lot of creativity and effort into making a work art, so you should know your rights—especially when it comes to protecting what you’ve created. In this day and age, people have easy access to the work of other people, which means that it’s much easier now to steal someone else’s intellectual property (IP). This is still a crime, and in this article, we will learn about what you can do if this ever happens to you. That said, let’s get to it.

Register your work
The first thing you should do when you’ve created something that can potentially make a profit is to get in touch with your lawyer right away. They can help you with patenting or trademarking the IP, which will ensure that nobody can use it without your permission.

Contact the infringer
If you notice that someone has used your IP without your express consent, you should contact them directly and ask them to cease and desist. They will comply out of fear of retribution, such as hefty fines or even jail time. In the case that they don’t, you have the right to move forward in the legal process.

Gather information
You will have to make sure you know your rights. That will tell you what type of legal action you can take. If you’re working with a lawyer, they can help you with the process and give you a full rundown of the options available to you. This will give you the best chance to claim copyright infringement and get whatever compensation you can under the law.

It can be hard to identify the perpetrator
Most of the time, the person you will file a case against is the website owner, but they are often quite difficult to identify. If it’s a company’s official website, you can take it up with the CEO of that company. However, if it’s a website with shared ownership, it will take a lot of time before the case is sorted. The first and most logical step you should take is to report it to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). They will help investigate the case. If they find out that copyright infringement did occur, they will pursue the case further in the court of law.

What can I get out of an infringement complaint?
Again, we would like to emphasize the importance of registering your work, as that’s the only way to guarantee that your work is safe. If your work is not registered in the USPTO’s database and it’s stolen, your claim will be significantly weakened. That will make it less likely for you to get the compensation you deserve. Depending on the nature of the case, it could be a civil or criminal case, so you need to understand the differences between the two so that you have the best chance of winning the legal battle. The Economic Espionage Act of 1996 declared certain types of IP infringement to be a theft of trade secrets, which is a federal crime. Infringement may also be considered counterfeiting, so if you are able to prove this, you may even be able to push the case further in the federal criminal court.

Here’s what you can expect to gain from the case:

An injunction or court order to prevent the person from using your IP
A proportion of the profits from your IP that the infringer made
Attorneys’ fees
Monetary compensation for your losses
Punitive damages

As you can see, IP infringement is a major concern, and you should make sure that your rights are protected. If you need legal aid in your case, it’s imperative that you look for a professional attorney to help you. Buche & Associates, P.C. can help you with all your legal needs, so get in touch with us today.

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