Intellectual Property Issues Examples And How To Avoid?

Intellectual property rights “IPRs” are a set of laws that form a legal framework that protects the intangible assets of creators and innovators, such as ideas and products, from violating or unauthorised use.

Due to globalisation and the development of connections, intellectual property issues have become increasingly challenging and complex. This article will discuss some of the most notable examples of intellectual property issues and their impact on society and business.

Intellectual Property Issues Examples: Understanding and Addressing Key Challenges

IPR issues are multifaceted and complex, and many challenges face businesses regarding protecting their IPRs. In this section, we will spot some of intellectual property issues examples so you can stay informed and engaged in this area of law,

  1. Copyright Infringement Cases

Copyright infringement occurs when someone violates or uses a copyrighted work without the copyright owner’s permission. There are many forms, including illegal streaming of copyrighted work such as movies, songs, etc. Here are some of the most high-profile copyright infringements:

  1. Harper & Row Publishers vs Nation Enterprises: Harper & Row sued The Nation magazine for infringing copyrighted work by publishing it in its magazine.
  2. Viacom Vs Youtube: Viacom sued youtube for using copyrighted work on its platform and allowing users to upload and share it without their permission. 
  3. Napster vs Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA): Napster sued RIAA for facilitating the unauthorised use of copyrighted music 

2. Trademark Infringement Cases

Trademarks differentiate specific products or services of a particular organisation from others. Trademark infringement occurs when a brand uses the trademark of others without permission to create confusion for customers or dilute the trademark’s value. Here are some of the most high-profile trademark infringement cases:

  1. Nike vs Adidas: Nike sued Adidas for copying the design of Nike’s Flyknit shoe.
  2. Apple vs Samsung: Apple sued Samsung for copying the design of the iPhone and iPad.The case went to trial, and apple was awarded $1 billion in damages.
  3. Louboutin vs Yves Saint Laurent: Louboutin sued Yves Saint Laurent for copying the distinctive red sole of Louboutin’s shoes, and the court eventually ruled in favour of Louboutin.

3. Patent Infringement Cases

Patents are legal protection that gives its owner an exclusive right to his invention. Patents can protect machines, processes, and invented products. Patent issues occur when someone claims he developed a similar technology or product. 

Patent Trolls and Frivolous Lawsuits are one of the most significant patent issues, also known as non-practising entities (NPEs). They acquire patents not for producing or selling but to file lawsuits and collect licensing fees from small businesses that can’t afford to fight back and waste time and money.

Patent infringement cases occur when someone uses or sells a product covered by someone else’s patent. Patent invalidation occurs when a patent is found invalid due to prior art. Here are some of the notable patent infringement cases: 

  1. Google vs Oracle:  Google was accused of infringing on Oracle’s Java programming language in developing the Android operating system, and the Court ruled in favour of Google.
  2. Waymo vs Uber: Google’s self-driving car division Waymo sued Uber for stealing confidential information with the help of a former Waymo employee. The case was eventually settled, with Uber paying Waymo $245 million.

4. Trade secrets Infringement Cases

Trade secrets are any confidential information that gives the business a competitive age; it could be a formula, manufacturing process, marketing strategies, or customer database. 

Trade secrets infringement occurs when someone unlawfully obtains, uses, or discloses a trade secret without authorisation which can result in lost profits, reputation damage, and market share.

Some common examples of trade secret issues include Insider theft which occurs when a current or former employee of a company leaves and steals or leaks trade secrets. Cybersecurity breaches happen when a company’s computer systems are hacked or  compromised. Here are some of the high-profile trade secrets infringement cases:

  1. Waymo vs Uber: As mentioned earlier
  2. PepsiCo vs Coca-Cola: PepsiCo sued Coca-Cola for stolen confidential documents related to PepsiCo’s recipe for making a clear cola with the help of a former PepsiCo employee.
  3. DuPont vs Kolon Industries: DuPont sued Kolon Industries, alleging that Kolon had stolen confidential information about DuPont’s Kevlar fibre, which is used in bulletproof vests and other applications. The case resulted in a $919 million verdict in favour of DuPont.

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Issues Relating to Intellectual Property Rights

Next to the significant intellectual property issues examples we have mentioned, there are other challenges related to licensing, distribution of IP, and ownership. These issues include:

  1. Licensing and distribution issues

There is a specific balance between protecting the work and the desire to reach a broader segment of the audience that the intellectual property holder must keep. This balance can be achieved through licensing and distribution agreements which might be a challenging and complex process, as the distribution channels are subjected to legal and regulatory requirements, and the licensing terms widely vary from country to country.

  1. International IP laws and regulations

The absence of a unified legal intellectual property framework resembles a massive regulation issue. The complex web of laws and regulations makes it challenging for individuals and businesses in different legal jurisdictions to seek to enforce their rights or sue other entities in a foreign country.

  1. Ownership and authorship disputes

When multiple parties claim ownership of specific work, intellectual property becomes complicated. Ownership and authorship dispute cases may be in work created by a team or contractors, derivative work, or collaborative work.

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  1. Fair use and public domain controversies

There is always an ongoing debate about the scope of fair use and the public domain, where intellectual property rights are not enforced, and works can be freely used, shared, and adapted. This debate asks for the limited use of copyrighted work for news reporting, teaching, scholarship, criticism, or research.

After discussing issues relating to intellectual property rights, From patent disputes to trade secret theft, there are many challenges and controversies surrounding the ownership, licensing, and distribution of intellectual property. We need to also delve into intellectual property issues in cyberspace.

Intellectual Property Issues in Cyberspace

intellectual property issues are becoming more complex as the world becomes more connected and digital. Some of the most high-profile intellectual property issues in cyberspace include.

  1. Online piracy and copyright infringement

The easy anonymity of online distribution and sharing made it more challenging for copyright holders to track infringers, sue them, and protect their work from piracy. The streaming sites, peer-to-peer file-sharing services, and social media platforms also made the situation more challenging by facilitating online sharing without permission.

  1. Domain name disputes

Domain names are the unique identifier to locate the website on the internet. Disputes can occur when more than two parties claim ownership of the same domain name. Some common examples of domain name disputes include typosquatting, domain name hijacking, and cybersquatting.

  1. Cybersquatting

Cybersquatting occurs when registering or using a domain name to profit from the goodwill associated with someone else’s trademark in the hope of selling the domain name to the trademark owner for a profit.

  1. Typosquatting

Typosquatting occurs when registering a domain name similar to a famous or well-known brand but with an unnoticeable difference, like a slight misspelling. The primary purpose of typosquatting is to deceive users and end up on a typosquatter’s website instead.

  1. Domain name hijacking

Domain name hijacking is gaining control of a domain name without the owner’s consent through hacking, fraud and many other means. Domain name hijacking occurs for malicious purposes, such as malware distribution, phishing scams, or identity theft.

As technology continues to evolve, so will the landscape of IPR issues, making it crucial for businesses to be aware of issues relating to intellectual property rights and seek legal advice when necessary.

Hire Baianat IP for your intellectual property issues

Do you have Intellectual Property Issues and need a trusted partner to protect your business? Baianat IP! With a rich history in IP dating back to 1964 and a global presence with over 25 offices in 17 countries can help you.

Working together ensures that your intellectual property rights are protected and that creative works can thrive in our increasingly digital world.

Learn more about Intellectual Property Issues examples by reading our recent articles on topics such as

  1. Intellectual Property Law issues in Artificial intelligence | What Do You Need To Know
  2. Intellectual Property Law In Cyber Security | A Must-Read Guide For Business Owners
  3. Are You Searching For The Best Intellectual Property Lawyer around you?

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