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Kern County California Legal Issues Blog

Identifying and avoiding copyright infringement charges

Using another’s work to pass as your own constitutes a significant offense. Generally known as plagiarism, copyright infringement can bring significant charges if convicted. Ensuring that your work does not use portions of another writer’s information helps ensure that you avoid penalties.

Copyright infringement occurs across the United States, but the court works to protect the original work of all individuals under copyright protection. Should you find yourself accused of copyright infringement, you want to collect all necessary documents and speak with an attorney specialized in intellectual property law. As these charges could involve serious punishments, you want to hire the best defense.

Do I need a trademark?

It takes a lot of effort to build a successful business identity. Advertising, lucrative contracts, testimonials, word-of-mouth recommendations—all of this represents a serious investment on your part, and it’s an investment you want to protect, since the brand you build is key to future success. Businesses have many options to protect their identities, and one of those is a trademark. Whether a trademark is right for your business—and what kind of trademark—will depend on several factors.

Protect your company's intellectual property

Your company's intellectual property is something that makes your company special. Keeping these matters safe is imperative, but not everyone knows what they can do to ensure that intellectual property isn't stolen.

One thing that you must remember is that trademarks and copyrights are unique to your business and should be kept as such. Other companies can't go stealing and using these just because they like them. If you do find out that someone is using your company's intellectual property, you can take legal action to stop him or her from using it.

Trademark infringement: Severe penalties for a serious issue

Your company's trademarks are the way that people can spot your company from afar. You need to protect these trademarks throughout your company's time in business. If you have a registered trademark, other businesses have to respect that trademark. They can face legal action against them if they infringe upon that trademark.

While it is possible to file trademark infringement actions in state court or federal court, most businesses opt to pursue these claims on a federal level. These actions must be taken very seriously because of the severity of the impacts.

Make sure you protect your company's trade secrets

As a business owner, you need to take steps to ensure that your company's trade secrets are protected. The first step toward making this happen is determining which aspects of your business are trade secrets that need protection.

This isn't always a simple and straightforward process. Some trade secrets are easy to find. These include recipes for restaurants and customer lists for other businesses. Essentially, you need to think about what points of your business might ruin the company if one of your competitors found out. Formulas, methods and similar information can all be trade secrets.

Learn about the protections you have for intellectual property

Intellectual property is something that is important to companies and the individuals who put in the effort to come up with the ideas. It is imperative that anyone who has something that can be trademarked or copyrighted take the time to protect their work. We can help anyone who has this type of property to learn about the ways that they might be able to protect their interests.

We recently discussed some of the finer points about intellectual property and the impact that it can have on domain names. If you recall, it is important that you check out the domain name that you want to make sure that there aren't any issues with it.

Check for trademarks before you grab a domain for your company

When you choose a business name, you might be ready to buy the domain for that name right away. There is one important step that you need to do between choosing a name and doing anything with it. You need to verify that there isn't someone who already has the same name or a name that is so similar that your business name would cause confusion.

Trademark infringement is something that is taken very seriously. In the case of domain names, you have to make sure that the domain that you choose won't be mistaken for someone else's domain. This can be difficult to do, but doing the trademark search is an important step that can help you to protect your business in the future.

Make sure your company's online persona is legal

Licensing agreements play an important role in business. We recently discussed some of the finer points associated with using stock images for your company. You have to ensure that you are always in compliance with the laws and terms of using these images, but your duty doesn't stop with only stock images.

Your business' online presence is likely a big part of your company's brand. Whether you have a simple website, an intricate one or a blog, you need to make sure that you have permission from the appropriate places and people for everything you have on the website.

How to use a stock image legally

If you're building content on a website, you will find numerous images online -- images that might be perfect for your site. However, if the images are not royalty-free, you'll probably need to pay to use them -- if you can even use them at all.

Here are a few classifications of pictures you'll find online, which you should learn about:

Why don't people think of stealing digital content as theft?

People often don't think of stealing digital content and intellectual property as theft. For example, stealing a Blu-Ray disc from a retail store is something everyone knows is wrong. Many people would tell you they'd never do it under any circumstances.

Going online and downloading the same movie, though, strikes them as a gray area. They may admit that it's not the best idea, but they'll do it. They'll also stream those movies illegally.

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