Intellectual Property (IP) Enforcement in the Online World

BlogIntellectual Property RightsTrademark    April 16, 2020
Intellectual Property (IP) Infringement Posted On

In the present digital era, the internet has undoubtedly created a plethora of opportunities for business firms, organizations, and companies, as a result of which, they are efficiently able to communicate their brand messages and reach out to their potential customers. However, if we keep the positive aspects of the internet aside, which include its global reach, versatility, and openness, we can observe that the highly unregulated nature of the internet has led to a fertile ground for Intellectual Property (IP) Infringement corresponding to trademarked brand names, registered designs, and copyrighted content. Online infringement of IP assets covers the sale of counterfeit services and products through various digital channels and other activities, such as phishing, cybersquatting, content piracy, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) abuse.

Exploring the Different Forms of IP

In a lot of countries across the globe, there are four prime forms of IP available, namely patent, trademark, trade secret, and copyright, and they can secure legal Intellectual Property Protection. IP infringement refers to the violation of a protected Intellectual Property Right (IPR). IP Rights are the rights given to an inventor or creator for his or her original and unique works. It implies that IP infringement is nothing but violating the right protected by a patent, copyright, or trademark. While having a patent, copyright, or Trademark Registration in hand, the creator or inventor holds the exclusive rights to initiate legal proceedings against the infringer, collect damages, and further stop the infringing activity.

Understanding the Need for Online IP Enforcement

In the present highly-competitive business environment and fast-paced society, it is essential to have a standard process or method corresponding to online IP enforcement, which most of the companies out there can adapt conveniently irrespective of their territorial jurisdiction. The reason behind doing the same lies in the fact that companies nowadays find it exceedingly arduous to monitor online IP infringement. Additionally, they can no longer rely on traditional legal remedies for dealing with such cases. Hence, they must come up with a multi-faceted and proactive strategy concerning trademark and Copyright Protection, which shall, in turn, offer efficient ways of adapting well to the extreme challenges of the online world. Doing so is of the utmost importance for companies and startups that have a lot to do with publishing content online. There are a few forms of IP that may give the owners the exclusive rights only in the nation where their IP is registered, which further leads to the need of having some extra-territorial rights in place to be independently recognized or proved by a court of law. However, when it comes to the online world, it becomes tough to implement such principles because it is quite convenient to maintain an anonymous identity by using offshore internet servers. As a result of having this kind of virtual presence, the infringers or violators end up generating massive profits. The other issue associated with the traditional approach resulting in successful online IP infringement includes the aspect of lack of uniformity in the legal landscape. Varying IP regulations, rules, and laws in different jurisdictions often result in making it hard to navigate the legal landscape.

Another crucial factor is identifying the entity or individual liable for online IP infringement and further taking appropriate action. Infringed upon content may be there on official websites of news publications, independent sellers, or individual blogs, where identifying the infringer may prove to be a lot more convenient. On the other side, such content may be there on media-sharing platforms such as Pinterest or YouTube, social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter, and seller platforms such as an app store or Amazon, which may make it arduous to come across the infringer. Furthermore, infringing content may also be indexed in widely-known search engines like Google, which would make such content convenient to come across and popularize over the original content, thereby resulting in monetary damages to the IP owner.

What is a Take-Down Request?

A take-down request refers to the procedure for asking an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or the search engine to disable or remove the access to outdated, irrelevant, or illegal information. Such requests may be issued for any piece of content that infringes on any copyright, trademark, patent, personality rights, or privacy rights. Many nations around the world have well-defined laws corresponding to requiring the ISPs or intermediaries to give to-the-point procedures for the IP owners to submit a request along with providing all the supporting information or necessary evidence concerning the take-down request. In some scenarios, such laws also set a time limit, within which the intermediary needs to respond to such requests or take appropriate action against the infringing content reported by the IP owner. For more visit: 

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