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Intellectual Property Infringement – Brief Guide

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Manish Jindal

January 11, 2024

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Intellectual Property Infringement – Brief Guide

As a creator, understanding the consequences of intellectual property infringement is significant.

The value of intellectual property (IP) rights cannot be emphasised in the modern, highly linked, and dynamic world.

As innovation continues to drive economic growth and societal progress, safeguarding the interests of creators and innovators becomes increasingly essential.

In this blog, let us understand the complex domain of IP copyright infringement. This blog also sheds light on the consequences for businesses and individuals.

We will also look into the several types of IP rights. IP infringement also has legal frameworks and enforcement mechanisms designed to protect the assets.


Infringement of Intellectual Property (IP Infringement)

Infringement of IP refers to the unauthorised use or exploitation of a creative work.

The creative work is protected by IP laws such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, or trade secrets.

This can include using someone else’s invention without permission, copying or distributing someone else’s artistic or literary work, using a company’s logo or branding without permission, or stealing a company’s confidential information.

Infringement of IP will have serious legal issues. The legal issues are fines, criminal charges and injunctions.

Individuals and businesses should respect the IP rights of others, they should obtain permission before using and reproducing protected works.

Further Reading: Copyright Issues in Digital Library


Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights

Infringement of IP Rights refers to the unauthorised or prohibited use or exploitation of a creative work that is protected by IP laws such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, or trade secrets.

It can involve the use of someone else’s invention or idea without permission, copying or distributing someone else’s artistic or literary work, using a company’s branding or logo without permission, or stealing a company’s confidential information.

Infringement of IP Rights can have serious legal consequences, such as hefty fines, injunctions, and even criminal charges.

It is important for individuals and businesses to respect the IP rights of others and to obtain permission before using or reproducing any protected works.

Intellectual Property Rules

IP rules are legal frameworks and regulations that govern the use and protection of several types of intellectual properties.

Here are some of the key IP rules:

Trademarks: Trademarks are used to protect brand names, logos, and other distinctive marks used in commerce.

The rules surrounding trademarks include requirements for registration, proper use, and enforcement against infringement.

Patents: Patents are used to protect inventions and other useful processes.

The rules surrounding patents include requirements for disclosure, examination, and issuance, as well as restrictions on infringement.

Copyrights: To protect the creative works that are books, music and software, one has to use the copyright mark.

The rules surrounding copyrights include requirements for registration, proper use, and enforcement against infringement.

The rules surrounding trade secrets include requirements for confidentiality agreements, proper use, and enforcement against misappropriation.

International laws: IP rules also comprise of international laws that govern the Intellectual property.

The intellectual properties include World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights(TRIPS).

Intellectual Property Violations

Intellectual property violations occur when someone uses, copies, distributes, or sells IP without the permission or authorisation of the owner of that property.

For example, if someone uses a company’s trademark without permission to sell their own products, that would be considered a trademark infringement.

Similarly, if someone copies a book or a song and sells it as their own, that would be a copyright infringement.

Additionally, if someone uses or discloses confidential information that they obtained improperly, such as a trade secret, that would be a violation of trade secret law.

Intellectual property violations can lead to legal action, including lawsuits, and can result in significant financial penalties or damages.

It’s important for individuals and businesses to be aware of their rights regarding IP and to take steps to protect their IP from infringement.

Patent Infringement in Intellectual Property

When a product which is covered by a patent is used by someone without obtaining the patent holder’s consent is known as the patent infringement.

If someone uses, creates, sells or imports the product, they will subject to the patent infringement issue.

A patent will grant the rights for the owner to the invention for particular period. This also allows others to eliminate the use of the patented invention.

Without the patent’s permission, one cannot make, use, sell or import the patented invention.

Patent infringement can occur in many ways, such as when a company produces a product that incorporates features covered by a patent owned by another company without obtaining a license or permission.

An infringing party may be required to pay damages or be barred from using or selling the infringing product.

This also includes the process if a patent holder files a lawsuit against them after understanding what they see to be an infringement on their patent.

To avoid infringing on someone else’s patent, it is important for individuals and companies to conduct a thorough patent search before producing a new product or process.

Further Reading: Difference Between Copyright and Patent

Recent Intellectual Property Conflicts

Epic Games v. Apple: Epic Games, the creator of the popular video game Fortnite, sued Apple over its App Store policies.

Epic Games claimed that Apple’s 30% commission on in-app purchases was anticompetitive, and Apple responded by removing Fortnite from the App Store.

The case is ongoing.

Waymo v. Uber: Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Alphabet (Google’s parent company), sued Uber for allegedly stealing trade secrets related to its autonomous vehicle technology.

The case was settled in 2018, with Uber agreeing to pay Waymo $245 million.

Qualcomm v. Apple: Qualcomm, a major supplier of smartphone chips, sued Apple over patent infringement and breach of contract.

The companies settled in 2019, with Apple agreeing to pay Qualcomm an undisclosed amount and entering into a six-year licensing agreement.

TikTok v. Triller: Triller, a social media app, sued TikTok for patent infringement related to its video editing technology. The case is ongoing.

Chanel v. The RealReal: Chanel, the luxury fashion brand, sued The RealReal, a consignment store, for allegedly selling counterfeit Chanel products.

The case was settled in 2020, with The RealReal agreeing to implement stricter measures to authenticate its merchandise.


Counterfeit Product in Intellectual Property Infringement

Counterfeit products in IP infringement refer to fake or unauthorised copies of genuine products that are produced and sold without the permission of the original manufacturer or trademark owner.

Counterfeit products can include fake luxury goods, electronics, clothing, pharmaceuticals, and many other types of products.

These products often infringe on trademarks, copyrights, or patents, and can deceive consumers into believing they are purchasing the genuine product.

Counterfeit products can also be dangerous, as they may not meet safety standards or contain harmful substances.

Companies and governments often take measures to prevent and combat the production and sale of counterfeit products, including legal action, raids, and public awareness campaigns.

How to Avoid IP Infringement?


1. Conduct Thorough Research

Conducting thorough research before using or creating intellectual property means taking the necessary steps to investigate the existing patents, trademarks, and copyrights to ensure that you are not infringing on someone else’s rights.

This involves a comprehensive review of existing IP databases, such as the US Patent and Trademark Office, to check whether someone else already holds a patent, trademark or copyright on the work you are intending to use.

By conducting thorough research, you can avoid infringing on someone else’s intellectual property rights, which could result in costly lawsuits, fines, and damage to your reputation.

Note: Even if someone uses the creative property without any intentions, it will be considered as the infringement of IP rights and you will be liable for the damages.


Therefore, it is essential to conduct proper research before using or creating any IP.

2. Obtain Licenses and Permissions

Obtaining proper licenses and permissions means seeking and obtaining legal permission from the owner of intellectual property, such as a patent or copyrighted material, before using it.

This requires identifying the owner of the IP and seeking their permission to use it.

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The permission can be in the form of license.

The license is a legal agreement which is a framework of the terms and conditions under the IP that can be used.

This can include the duration of license, permitted uses and royalties’ fees.


It is important to obtain proper licenses and permissions to avoid infringing on someone else’s IP rights, which can lead to legal consequences such as lawsuits, fines, and damages.

Failure to obtain proper licenses and permissions can also harm your reputation and negatively impact your business.

Therefore, it is essential to seek permission and obtain proper licenses before using someone else’s IP.

3. Use Original and Distinctive Trademarks

When creating a brand or a product, it is important to use a unique and recognizable trademark that distinguishes it from others.

This helps consumers to identify and remember the brand or product.

However, it is equally important to ensure that the trademark being used is not already in use by someone else.

Using someone else’s trademark without their permission can lead to legal issues and potential infringement claims.

Therefore, it is recommended to conduct a trademark search before using a new trademark to make sure that it is original and not already in use by someone else.

By using original and distinctive trademarks and conducting proper research, a brand or product can establish a strong and unique identity without infringing on someone else’s IP rights.

4. Create Original Content

Creating original content means producing something that is entirely your own and not based on someone else’s ideas, concepts, or designs.

This can help to avoid any potential issues of IP infringement.

When creating original content, it is important to use your own creativity and imagination.

You can come up with new ideas, concepts, and designs that are unique and not copied from someone else’s work.

This could include writing original text, composing original music, or creating original artwork.

Make careful that your work is not overly identical to the original if you are using someone else’s work as a reference.

This means that you should not copy or plagiarize someone else’s work. Instead, use it as inspiration to create something new and original.

When you create a original content, it will be a challenging process. But, a original content is indeed rewarding.

By producing something that is entirely your own, you can establish yourself as a unique and creative voice in your field.

Additionally, original content is less likely to infringe on someone else’s IP which can help to avoid legal issues and protect your own rights.

5. Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Giving credit where credit is due means acknowledging and properly attributing someone else’s IP that you have used or referenced in your own work.

This can include citing sources or providing attribution for ownership.

For instance, even if you use someone’s quotes, you should attribute the quote to the author. Also, you should include a citation to the source.


Similarly, if you have used someone else’s photograph or artwork, you should credit the original creator and include a copyright notice if necessary.

Giving proper credit is important for several reasons.

First, it shows respect for the original creator and acknowledges their contribution to your work.

Second, it helps to avoid any potential issues of intellectual property infringement.

By giving proper credit, you can demonstrate that you are aware of and respectful of others’ intellectual property rights.

Different Ways to Give Credit

One can give credit to the copyright owner using the different ways. It will depend on the type of the intellectual property in the use.


For written work, this could include using footnotes, endnotes, or in-text citations. For visual works, this could include adding a caption or watermark.

It is important to follow the specific guidelines for the type of work and the relevant industry standards.

Overall, giving credit where credit is due is a key principle in ethical and responsible use of intellectual property.

6. Monitor Your Intellectual Property

Monitoring your intellectual property means actively watching for any unauthorised use of your intellectual property and taking appropriate actions to protect your rights.

This can be done through a variety of means, such as monitoring services, legal action, or other methods.

Monitoring services can help you keep track of any potential infringements of your intellectual property, such as trademark or copyright violations, and alert you to any unauthorised use.

Some services can even help you take action to protect your rights, such as sending cease and desist letters or filing infringement claims.

Legal action can also be taken to protect your intellectual property.

This may include filing a lawsuit against someone who has infringed on your rights or seeking an injunction to stop the unauthorised use of your intellectual property.

It is important to consult with a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property law before taking any legal action.

Consequences of Intellectual Property Rights Infringement

Legal consequences: Infringement of intellectual property rights can result in legal action, including lawsuits and injunctions.

This can lead to court-ordered damages and penalties, as well as the cost of legal fees.

Financial consequences: In addition to legal fees and damages, intellectual property infringement can also result in lost profits and damage to the value of the intellectual property.

This can have a significant financial impact on the infringing party.

Reputational consequences: Intellectual property infringement can also damage the reputation of the infringing party, particularly if the infringement is seen as deliberate or intentional.

This can lead to negative publicity and a loss of trust among customers, investors, and other stakeholders.

Criminal consequences: In some cases, intellectual property infringement can be considered a criminal offence, particularly in cases of counterfeiting or piracy.

This can result in fines, imprisonment, and other criminal penalties.

Overall, the consequences of intellectual property rights infringement can be significant and far-reaching. 

This includes conducting proper research, seeking permission when necessary, and monitoring and protecting their own intellectual property rights.

Final Thoughts

Whether it involves trademarks, patents, copyrights, or trade secrets, the improper use of intellectual property can lead to disputes, legal action, and damage to business relationships.

It is important for individuals and businesses to understand the rules and regulations surrounding intellectual property, and to take appropriate steps to protect their own rights and avoid infringing on the rights of others.

By respecting intellectual property rights and promoting a culture of creativity and innovation, we can all contribute to a more vibrant and dynamic society.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the consequences of intellectual property infringement?

The consequences of intellectual property infringement can be significant and may include legal action, financial penalties, damage to reputation, and even criminal charges in some cases.

What can I do to stop intellectual property theft?

You can avoid intellectual property infringement by conducting proper research, obtaining permission when necessary, creating original content, giving proper credit, and monitoring your own intellectual property.

How do I know if someone is infringing on my intellectual property?

You can monitor your intellectual property by conducting regular searches, setting up Google alerts, joining industry associations, and using monitoring services to identify any unauthorised use of your intellectual property.

Can I sue someone for intellectual property infringement?

Yes, you can sue someone for intellectual property infringement if they have used your intellectual property without your permission or authorisation.

However, it is important to consult with a lawyer who specialises in intellectual property law before taking legal action.

How do I register my intellectual property?

The process for registering intellectual property varies depending on the type of intellectual property and the jurisdiction in which it will be used.

It is important to consult with a lawyer or intellectual property professional for guidance on the registration process.

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