So you own some kind of valuable IP which is not being respected. What to do? The answer depends on the type of IP and nature of infringement, as well as the competitive threat. For example (and most assuredly not addressing all potential infringement situations):
- Your copyrighted photo, text or video shows up on someone else's website. You'll want to send a `takedown notice' to the person designated on the site as `DMCA' [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] agent on the website. Such notice must conform to a prescribed format, but if it does, it is usually the case that recipients remove the material.
- Your web address is being used by a competitor which is diverting your traffic. A federal law, the Anti-Cybersquatting Act, may allow you prompt relief. At the least a letter to the offender is in order. If this is ineffective, and there is a substantial impact on your business, you may need to file suit under this law.
- Your federally registered trademarked name or logo is being misused by a competitor on their website or otherwise. If the issue involves the website, a letter to the DMCA agent is a good place to start. If this does not work or the misuse involves something else, a letter from us, as your attorney, illustrating the likelihood of consumer confusion , to the company's CFO or general counsel is in order. If this does not work or the issue is clear `counterfeiting' of your product, legal action, possibly including a referral to authorities, is in order, and may in some cases, allow immediate corrective action.
- Your patent is being infringed. In that pursuit of legal action usually results in a challenge to the patent's validity and may lead to a claim of infringement of the other party's patent, you will want to discuss with patent counsel the sorts of challenges and outcomes to be anticipated as well as whether the other party is actually infringing. If these do not appear to be too daunting, a `cease and desist' letter from us to the other party's CFO or GC is in order with legal action to follow if satisfaction is not obtained.
Above all, you need to very promptly talk to us so that one of our IP or litigation partners can help to determine the best, most cost-effective step for your specific circumstances.