Intellectual Property Infringement

How federal and state laws protect your intellectual property

Because intellectual property can be extremely valuable, the penalties for IP infringement are severe. In addition to injunctive relief - a court order to stop the infringing conduct - state and federal IP laws allow the party whose IP rights have been violated to recover civil damages, even when the infringement was not intentional. Certain types of IP infringement carry criminal penalties, including large fines and lengthy jail sentences. The mere threat of these serious penalties is often sufficient to get the desired results. At Benjamin Appelbaum Attorney at Law, we devise an IP infringement-prevention strategy that protects your IP rights without resorting to costly litigation.

Civil liability for IP infringement

The civil remedies available for intellectual property infringement differ depending on the type of intellectual property that's involved:

  • Copyright infringement - A copyright owner who has suffered infringement can recover in one of two ways: either the actual monetary loss he or she suffered plus any profits realized by the infringer, or statutory damages of between $750 and $30,000. In cases of willful infringement, statutory damages can rise to $150,000. The prevailing party also can recover attorney's fees and costs.
  • Trademark infringement - Victims of trademark infringement can recover their actual monetary losses, any profits realized by the defendant and the costs of the action. For willful violations, the court may award treble damages. For violations involving counterfeit goods, the plaintiff has the option of electing statutory damages between $1,000 and $200,000, or up to $2 million for willful use of a counterfeit mark.
  • Patent infringement - An inventor whose patent has been violated may recover compensation for actual losses, but at a minimum must receive a reasonable royalty for the unauthorized use. The court also has discretion to award up to three times the actual damages in exceptional cases.
  • Misappropriation of trade secrets - The New Jersey Trade Secrets Act allows victims of trade secret misappropriation to recover their actual losses as well as any unjust enrichment of the defendant. In willful cases, the court may award punitive damages equal to twice the compensatory damages, as well as attorney's fees.

Criminal sanctions for theft of intellectual property

While patent infringement is not a federal crime, willful copyright infringement, as well as the theft of trade secrets and trademark counterfeiting, are criminal offenses under federal law. Willful copyright infringement can be a felony if committed on a large scale, and the Economic Espionage Act makes theft of trade secrets punishable by up to 10 years in prison as well as substantial fines. The Trademark Counterfeiting Act provides 10-year sentences for intentionally trafficking in counterfeit products.

Call today to work with a knowledgeable IP lawyer

Managing IP infringement is an important part of intellectual property ownership, but doing so can be a challenge for individuals and businesses. When you work with Benjamin Appelbaum Attorney at Law, we create an IP enforcement strategy that fits your goals and budget and allows you to avoid costly litigation. Call our office at 877-649-6002 to schedule a consultation or contact us online at any time.