Business litigation and business disputes in New Mexico can arise out of a wide range of issues, including the unauthorized use of or profit from your business’s trade secrets or intellectual property. Filing an intellectual property claim can seem daunting, especially when you are unsure of the specific elements you will need to prove to win a case and stop a former employee or another business from unfairly using or profiting from your company’s trademark, copyrighted material, or trade secrets. What do you need to know about filing a claim against a party who has infringed on your trademark or is profiting from your business’s trade secrets and proving theft of your business’s intellectual property? Our Santa Fe business litigation lawyers can provide you with more information and can represent you in your case.
Understanding a Business’s Intellectual Property
When you say that your business’s intellectual property has been stolen or used without your permission or authorization, what constitutes intellectual property? Intellectual property can take many different forms. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the term intellectual property “refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names, and images used in commerce.” The WIPO underscores that intellectual property, or IP, is “protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright, and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.”
Common types of intellectual property involved in infringement cases and business litigation include but are not limited to:
- Service marks;
- Industrial designs;
- Geographical indications; and
- Trade secrets.
Ways You Can Prove Theft or Infringement of Intellectual Property
The way that you will prove intellectual property theft or infringement will depend upon the type of intellectual property at issue, along with other factors. When you believe, for example, that another business is unfairly using your trademark or service mark to sell goods or services and to make a profit, you typically must prove the following, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO):
- You own the trademark or service mark;
- You have priority over the party who is infringing in using the trademark or service mark; and
- The party who you believe is infringing is using the trademark or service mark in a way that is likely to cause confusion among customers or clients concerning the business offering the goods or services.
When a current or former employee misappropriates trade secrets, you may have multiple options for filing a claim and providing proof. Generally speaking, you will need to prove that the information that was misappropriated was a trade secret, that the information was not generally known, and that the employee used or attempted to use it. In addition, an employee may have violated a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), for example, and you may be able to prove that violation.
Contact a Santa Fe Business Litigation Lawyer
If you have questions about proving the theft of your intellectual property, one of our experienced Santa Fe business litigation lawyers can assist you. Contact Slate Stern Law to learn more.