Protecting IP Rights is More Than Just Patents and Trademarks Filings
The rate of intellectual property (IP) filings continue to grow at a massive rate. According to The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Indicators 2019, over 3.3 million IP patents were filed in 2018, a growth of 5.2 percent over the previous year’s figure. On the trademark front, filings grew by 15.5 percent to 14.3 million over the same period. Other filing categories, including industrial design filing, applications for utility models and miscellaneous plant filings, all grew at a brisk rate as well.
The primary driver behind the growth is China, which accounts for 46.4 percent and 51.4 percent of all global patent and trademark filings respectively. However, trademark or patent registration is only the first step towards securing a company’s IP rights. There are other follow-up measures which brand owners must complete to protect IP and trademark rights. These measures include:
Announcing Your Rights
It is important to let competitors and consumers know that the intellectual property or trademark rights of products belong exclusively to your company. This simple awareness-enhancing approach can deter potential infringements. Competitors and counterfeiters tend to steer away from companies which appear to actively enforce their IP ownerships. A simple way to announce your rights is by including the patent or trademark registration on every product, as well as on digital and printed marketing copies.
Monitoring Marketplace and Competitors
It is not enough to merely wait for customers or law enforcement agencies to notify you about infringements. Be proactive and devote resources to periodically surveying online marketplaces and competitors’ websites to find products which infringe upon your IP rights. Be particularly vigilant now during the new year sales when the volume of infringements often increases.
Enforcing Your Rights
Be methodical and persistent in enforcing your rights. Once an infringement has been discovered, contact the infringing company in writing with specific demands. Monitor their compliance. If they do not comply with your request, pursue a judicial or legal path, either through the court system or law enforcement agencies. Most counterfeiters will only stop when faced with the threat of legal or police action.
Moreover, a reputation for persistently and actively protecting trademarks and IP rights will ultimately serve as a powerful deterrent against future counterfeiters.