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What Should I do if Someone is Infringing my Work?

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  • Written By: Simone Lawson
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 17 August 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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There are several different ways someone can infringe on another's work, including copyright, patent and trademark infringement. There are several steps that one may take to stop others from infringing. Making sure that work is properly protected may help to deter infringement and may also offer protection during a legal dispute. If infringement has occurred, it is generally advisable to contact an attorney and file a civil suit.

Copyright infringement occurs when works that have been protected by copyright law are reproduced or altered without the permission of the creator. Copyright infringing commonly occurs with works of music, film or writing. If someone is infringing on an existing copyright, it is typically settled in a court of law.

An attorney specializing in infringement or copyright law may be employed to file a lawsuit. An attorney may also help evaluate and determine the extent of damage inflicted to the copyright owner, so the appropriate legal agreement may be achieved. If the infringement resulted in profit for the violator, authorities may deem it necessary to initiate a criminal investigation.

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It should be noted that in some countries copyright laws include a fair use doctrine that allows others to use copyrighted works without permission in certain situations. In the United States, fair use of copyrighted work usually includes instances such as quotations for a book review, parodies for sketches or other public entertainment or news reports. In order for a court to determine if the infringement was actually fair use, it generally takes into consideration the purpose of the use, nature of the work, amount of copying and the market effect.

Patent infringement may occur in the case of an unauthorized sale, use or distribution of a patented invention. This type of infringement typically occurs with duplicated computer software or hardware, medical devices, wireless products and chemical technologies. Hiring a patent infringement attorney to help determine the amount of damage and to prepare a case may be prudent.

In some countries, it may be possible for company owners to purchase an infringement insurance policy to protect against infringement. Policies vary, but they typically include some type of coverage for attorney’s fees if a suit is filed regarding patent infringement. The premiums may be very costly, but this type of insurance may prove to be very valuable when protecting work that possesses high market value.

Trademark infringement is generally considered to be unauthorized use of a trademarked word, symbol or phrase. This often occurs when companies heavily use marketing to present logos or catch phrases that represent their product. If a trademarked symbol is duplicated or altered, the owner of the trademark has the right to seek legal action against the infringing party.

If infringement has occurred, an attorney is usually able to secure an injunction against further infringement. If the trademark is properly registered, the defendant may be subject to paying the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees. Payment for monetary damage is also possible, but it is generally rare in the case of trademark infringement.

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