An Easy Guide To Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Protect your intellectual property! Copyright law is what protects your business’s intellectual property (IP) from being stolen by other people who would sell your product for their benefit. The law applies to anyone whose work is original and creative enough to have ownership over that idea or image. This can be a graphic designer, up-and-coming clothing line, film producer, or writer. Anyone who has created something they can call their own is subject to copyright law.

How To Protect Your Intellectual Property (IP)

IP includes any original work that someone creates. If you produce or distribute any products, including but not limited to clothing, writing, photography, design, art; anything that someone else may use to compete with your business without permission is considered IP.

File For Protection

The first and most crucial step is to file for a copyright certificate. This not only protects your business but can also help you win any legal proceedings brought against you by other people trying to steal your IP. The best thing about registering for a certificate is that it gives you the right to sue anyone who infringes on your intellectual property rights. The good news is that suing isn’t necessary to protect your IP. If another business attempts to sell your work, sending them a cease and desist letter will suffice. If they ignore this, you should consider the protection of an offshore trust by filing a suit against them. Better still, hire a Cook Islands trust attorney to claim damages on your behalf.

Company Protections

Incorporating a business is the best way to protect yourself from claims of intellectual property theft. In general, regardless of whether you are an individual or a company, any products that you sell belong to your business and not you personally. This means if your product is stolen, they are stealing from your business and not personal. The bad news about this is anyone who sues a corporation for copyright infringement will usually target the actual human being responsible for creating said work. Which would be you in most cases, unless another administrator has control over your original idea. For this reason, it’s essential to have proper legal documentation on hand at all times so that no one can claim ownership over something they had nothing to do with.

Copyright Protection

Copyright protection is the most common intellectual property protection for both individuals and companies. It protects any work you have created or are in the process of creating or distributing. This includes photographs, designs, and paintings. Once you have registered your copyright under U.S. law, it cannot be taken away from you, even if you give up ownership over that specific piece of work, unless someone else can prove that they came up with it first, which would be very unlikely. An example would be if someone sold a painting claiming it was theirs when you were the one who painted it. In this case, it’s pretty easy to claim copyright infringement by simply showing them your original documentation proving that you are the rightful owner.

Patent Protection

Patents protect invention rights for inventions, machines, and new valuable products you have created, which may be sold like physical items or digital downloads. It prevents anyone from copying, reproducing, or distributing your idea, which can be applied to almost any creative endeavour, even if it’s an original recipe. Unlike copyright protection, someone who claims patent infringement must prove that they were indeed the ones to invent the said machine or product. If they cannot do this, your claim will stand, and you will retain ownership over what was initially yours by law.

Trademark Protection

Trademarks protect logos, names, and phrases from being used without permission from the company that owns those trademarks. This is a lot more complicated than other forms of intellectual property protection. It requires proper documentation, including a trademark form filled out correctly and any other applicable trademark symbols. Since trademarks are so specific, it’s usually best to hire a Cook Islands trust attorney when in doubt regarding this form of protection.

Trade Secret Protection

A trade secret is any information that gives your business an advantage over competitors. You have taken reasonable steps to keep undisclosed, including business plans, customer lists, and marketing strategies. Protecting your trade secrets can be done by simply not disclosing said information to anyone other than trusted employees who need to know it for the regular operation of your company. This way, if someone steals or tries to steal these secrets, they will still require close cooperation with you to use the information they stole from your company, making them useless without you anyways. Most businesses deal with trade secrets every day without even knowing it.

Licensing Protection

Licenses are agreements that you sign allowing someone else to use your intellectual property for a period, which you can revoke at any given time if they violate the terms of said agreement. Typically, licenses are used in two different ways, one is by independent artists who create music or art and submit it to publishers to have their work published along with a royalty fee for each piece sold. Most artists make money from their creations since most publishers will not pay an upfront fee when purchasing these types of rights from an artist.

The other is through licensing deals where companies sell items such as logos, phrases, or designs in exchange for a small fee paid regularly. This allows other companies or individuals to include these items in their products and services while giving the original owner a small portion of each sale made using them. With licensing deals, it’s important to note that you should always get down exactly what percentage of sales will be going to you before signing any contracts.

Protecting your business’s intellectual property is one of the most critical steps that can be taken towards future success. For the most part, protecting and registering your intellectual property is pretty easy to do and usually takes little time or effort. While it does require some legwork, knowing what to do when someone attempts to steal from you is easy enough with just a little bit of research and guidance.

The Relationship Between PVP Law & Agribusiness

Agribusiness is the business sector encompassing farming and farming-related commercial activities. It involves all the steps required to send an agricultural good to market, namely production, processing, and distribution.

In the field of intellectual property, it is common to think in trademarks, patents and computer programs as its great representatives. Although that is true, there is a specific area that are both agribusiness and IP subject we are required to understand.

Brazilian IP Law bars the protection of natural living beings, in whole or in part, and biological material, when found in nature or isolated, from patent system. Such provision was an option for each signatory of both Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants.

In this regard, plant variety such as sugarcane, cotton, banana, orange and corn, whose harvests were particularly responsible for increase in 3,81% the Brazilian agrobusiness GDP in 2019, have a sui generis protection system.

The Brazilian Plant Variety Protection Law regards several criteria in order to distinguish the cultivar use and reproduce from another kind of plant. To do so, the article 10 presents actions that are not deemed to be breeder’s right infringement.

For instance, a person who stores and plants seeds for his/her own use on his/her premises or on the premises of third parties shall not be considered a PVP infringer. Using the plant as a source of variation in genetic improvement or in scientific research is another exception.

A special treatment is given to small rural producers, who are allowed to multiply seeds for donation or exchange in dealings exclusively with other small rural producers, under programs of financing or support authorised by the Government.

But such general provisions do not apply to the cultivation of sugarcane. A specific list of provisions regulates cultivar. The producer who wants to multiply vegetative propagating material, for example, is obliged to secure authorisation from the owner of the right to the plant variety, even for his/her own use.

It does not apply just in case the rural property the producer has possession or ownership has less than four modules, according to Law No. 4,504/1964.

To regulate and manage applications for protection, Brazilian PVP Law established the National Plant Varieties Protection Service, under the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply.

All responsibilities of this agency are listed at article 3 of Decree No. 2,366/1997, that implements regulations of the Plant Variety Protection Law.

Under article 9 of UPOV Convention, Brazilian PVP Law provides restrictions in the exercise of breeder’s right in two main cases: compulsory license and restricted public use.

The first restriction ensures the availability of the plant variety on the market, at reasonable prices, when the maintenance of a regular supply is being unduly hampered by the title holder.

Any part having legitimate interest may request this measure if there is evidence that the requester has attempted, unsuccessfully, to obtain a voluntary license from the holder of the cultivar.

Conversely, the second restriction is declared ex officio by the MAPA, based on a technical opinion issued by the competent agencies.

Article 36 of Brazilian PVP Law allows restricted public use declaration in case of national emergency, abuse of economic power or other circumstances of extreme urgency. The cultivar may be exploited directly by the Federal Union or by third parties designed by it.

According to article 6 of the law its provisions also applies to applications for PVP originating abroad and filed within the country by a natural or legal person whose protection is ensured by a treaty effective in Brazil.

It is important to note that the person domiciled abroad shall appoint and maintain an agent with power of attorney domiciled in Brazil to represent him/her in dealings with the SNPC.

In addition, the term of protection under Brazilian law is basically the minimum settled at UPOV Convention: fifteen years. For vines and fruit, forest and ornamental trees, including their rootstock, the period is eighteen years.

Both periods begin in the date of grant of the Provisional Certificate of Protection issued by SNPC, and at the end of such term the cultivar shall pass into the public domain.

The law also ensures that any person who infringes the rights of a protected plant variety shall be bound to indemnify the title holder as well as shall be deemed guilty of the crime of infringement of the rights of the breeder.

The increasing of agricultural activities depends on plant variety protection for planting and harvesting. Consequentially, nowadays intellectual property has a tight relationship and is becoming a more and more important issue for agribusiness.

Industrial Property Law Developments in China

From last year, with the improvement of China’s industrial technological level, as well as tremendous changes in the international competitive environment, China’s patent protection system and patent protection practices were also changed and adapted to the same.

With a tremendous scale in creation and application of various types of IPR, and enhanced values of some IPR, there are IP disputes that are prone to occur frequently, while the supply side of non-litigation dispute resolution mechanisms is insufficient, so that the rigid demand for judicial protection is continuously on the rise.

The IP tribunals have been successively founded to make the patent judicial trials more specialised. After the Supreme People’s Court summarised and promoted the practical experience of IP courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou last year, the establishment of IP-specialised trial tribunals was approved for cross-regional jurisdiction in 11 cities including Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Hefei, Fuzhou, Jinan, Qingdao and Shenzhen to enhance the unification of standards, scales and quality of verdict, and provide better verdict guidelines for the creation and application of IP.

The technical investigator system has been introduced in patent litigation to make patent infringement litigation trials more specialised. In patent case trials, the court often needs to identify a number of technical facts, and conduct in-depth research and comparison of technical solutions. Overcoming complex technical obstacles in the identification of facts is a key point that has long affected enhancement of the quality and efficiency of trials.

In response to this problem, Chinese courts explored establishing a system where technical investigators neutrally perform duties to assist in the trial, and appointed a number of technical investigators from multiple channels such as enterprises and institutions, universities, scientific research institutions, national patent agencies, and patent agent associations. Thus, the “four-in-one” mechanism was jointly participated in by professional people’s jurors, technical investigators and expert assistants, and judicial appraisal agencies for identifying technical facts were constructed to assist judges in cracking technical doubts and clearing technical obstacles to an impartial trial.

The patent link system has been established in view of the fact that patent infringement litigations taking place during the listing approvals of drugs will have certain impact on the approval of generic drugs. In view of the fact that drugs in the process of listing approval may not be examined for patent infringement, drug research enterprises have to resort to legal means to restrain infringements after the listing of drugs by a competitor. However, restricted by the drawbacks of small infringement damage amounts and difficult enforcement under the current patent system in China, such right protections are usually almost in vain.

As stipulated in the Opinions on Deepening the Reform of the Review and Approval System to Encourage the Innovation of Drugs and Medical Instruments issued by the central government, in order to protect the legitimate rights and interests of patentees, reduce the patent infringement risks of generic drugs, and encourage the development of generic drugs, the establishment of a drug review and approval, and drug patent link system, was explored. When an applicant for drug registration submits an application for registration, the applicant must state the relevant patent involved as well as its ownership status, and notify the relevant drug patentee within the specified time limit.

Where there is a dispute over the patent right, the parties concerned may file a lawsuit with the court without aborting the technical review of the drugs during the period. For drugs that have passed technical review, the Food and Drug Supervision Department should make a decision on whether to approve the listing according to the court’s effective judgment, ruling or mediation.

If the effective judgment, ruling or mediation is not obtained within a certain time limit, the Food and Drug Supervision Department may approve the listing. According to the above-mentioned provisions, after the receipt of the notification from the drug listing applicant, the relevant drug patentee who believes that its patent right has been infringed may bring a patent infringement lawsuit to the judicial authority, which to a large extent discourages the generic drug manufacturer to employ the “Bolar case exception” to apply for drug listing before the drug administration department. The establishment and improvement of the drug patent link system may also significantly reduce the time for the drug patent expiration and the drug listing in the near future.

The patent infringement compensation system has been further perfected, which greatly enhances compensation amounts. There are always problems such as difficult investigations and evidence collection, and low amounts of compensation in patent infringement. According to the current patent law, the compensation first follows the “bridge principle”, which is to bridge all the losses of the patentee, and is not punitive to the infringer.

The revised patent law is expected to stipulate that, where the patent right is intentionally infringed, the court may raise the amount of compensation to a maximum of three times, according to the circumstances, scale and damage incurred. As long as the patentee can prove that the competitor is present with intentional infringement, a punitive damage judgment may be made against the infringer.

The people’s court may determine the amount of compensation to be more than double and less than three times, based on the above-mentioned method, according to the circumstances, scale and damages incurred from the infringement.

The amount of compensation should also include the reasonable expenses of the rights holder incurred for stopping the infringing act. The amount of compensation should also include reasonable expenses paid by the rights holder to restrain the infringement act.