Disputes often arise from a handshake that in the mind of each of the parties represents something quite different. This happens often in the development of intellectual property because engineers, developers and other creative people are focused on the technology and too often ignore the business. The results are disputes over ownership in and contractual obligations related to the intellectual property rights. Such intellectual property agreement disputes often involve large and multinational corporations but even more frequently involve small independent businesses. Such disputes, if not resolved quickly can result in the downfall of the business, creation of personal animosities, losses to investors and substantial damages claims and litigation.
In cases where public and privately owned companies are in possession of highly sophisticated intellectual property portfolios, damages from such disputes can be in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
Of course, the first effort should be to put all agreements into writings which detail the obligations and rights of each of the parties. However, immunity form disagreements and disputes is not even assured when the agreement is in writing as disputes over the meaning and interpretation of the written agreement can still occur. Where parties cannot come to a mutual resolution of a dispute, the result is often intellectual property agreement enforcement and litigation in CA or elsewhere.
Categories Concerning Disputes over Intellectual Property
Intellectual property agreement enforcement and litigation arises from disputes in four broad categories:
- Trademark litigation: This is likely the most common type of dispute and involves the defence and/or prosecution of any claims relating to trademarks, service marks, logos, domain names, publicity rights and the like. In short, disputes over the identifiers a business uses to let consumers know who they are who makes the products or gives the services. Business want to protect the integrity and good will of their business by preventing other from confusing the public as to the source and origin of the goods and services bearing those identifiers.
- Copyright litigation: This includes disputes over creative works by an author. Intellectual Property disputes in this category often relate to the unauthorized or unlicensed use of the work, the failure to give proper attribution or the use of the work beyond what is licensed.
- Patent litigation: This includes disputes over use of technology over which an inventor has exclusive rights. Often disputes involving patents arise from the unlicensed use of rights covered by patents and result in challenges to the validity of the patent, the interpretation of the patent or meaning of license agreements.
- Trade secrets litigation: This includes disputes arising from theft of trade secrets by an employee form an employer, industrial espionage, computer hacking or the disclosure or use in violation of non-disclosure, development or consulting agreements.
Citing Precedent When Enforcing Intellectual Property Agreements
Pursuing intellectual property agreement enforcement and litigation is a lengthy process and each case will be comprised of individual elements. However, some answers at least can be found in past rulings made by the Courts.
As an attorney representing either the plaintiff or defendant in a matter involving an intellectual property dispute, it is important to investigate the nature of similar intellectual property disputes and become familiar with statutes, regulations and legal precedents that may apply in order to effectively represent your client.