Intellectual Property Investigations: What it is & Why it’s Important

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Intellectual Property Investigations

The umbrella term intellectual property encompasses all intangible literary creations, inventions, ideas, and creative works. Federal laws protect owners who register copyrights, trademarks, and patents related to these creations.

A perpetrator is guilty of infringement or theft when using the protected materials without permission from the owner. Therefore, investigations are critical for punishing violators and safeguarding your rights.

Proving the Commission of a Crime

Investigators develop bespoke markets for researching the market in which you sell your products or works. The purpose is to use advanced statistical modeling to determine where your products are sold legally and illegally. These controlled approaches pinpoint IP rights violations such as counterfeit products or a fraudulent domain in which your intellectual property is used. For example, criminals create fake websites and domains that look like your company’s website and feature your products.

This act is intellectual property theft, and these criminals illegally use your brand logo and showcase your creations for sale. These crimes start when the perpetrator purchases a domain and registers it. The domain name includes your company name or a slogan you use. The purpose is to fool consumers familiar with your brand, convince them to buy products, and profit off the scam.

The investigation begins as a means to confirm that an IP-related crime happened and that you are the victim. Marketplace research approaches help investigators pinpoint each violation and create a strategy to track the perpetrator’s actions. Each violation is a new criminal charge against the criminal, and enforcement of federal laws leads to their prosecution.

Use Channel Mapping to Connect the Dots

Channel mapping approaches follow all points where your IP is used and tangible products are sold. These channels help identify attributes about the criminal and their scam. Through channel mapping, investigators create a flow chart of the crime. First, they identify the internet protocol address for the server hosting the counterfeit website.

Next, the mapping process finds what devices connect to the website’s administrator or owner account. Finally, the investigation reveals where order details transmit, such as what account receives payment deposits and what fulfillment service coordinates orders.

The latter is the most critical part of the investigation. This attribute differentiates a case between a scam where a perpetrator uses a fraudulent website to steal money and a criminal who reproduced counterfeit products based on your patented designs for financial gains. While similar, the two crimes aren’t the same. Yes, both criminals violated your intellectual property rights. However, reproducing your products for resale is a more severe crime and requires a more extensive investigation.

IP Rights Violations and Misinformation

IP rights violations don’t involve scams to generate capital only. Instead, cybercriminals use intellectual property to spread misinformation about you and your company. For example, they add fake customer reviews, make negative remarks about your company or products, and spread false allegations.

The counterfeit website appears just like your company’s e-commerce website with all the branded elements like your logo. A scammer uses them efficiently to fool your customers and gain their trust. However, these fraudulent websites don’t appear in traditional search results; instead, scammers add the websites to social media listings. Therefore, channel mapping is the best way to find these websites. An IP investigation and its practices help investigators reveal the culprits.

Why is Damage Assessment Critical?

Investigators measure damages in an intellectual property case through apportionment surveys. Apportioning your profits shows how much you would have earned from the IP rights violation. Investigators use these surveys to separate product elements that could generate each profit type. Then, when testifying in court, the investigators present the surveys to show what portion of lost profits attribute to the violations of your rights.

Practical Methods for Apportioning Profits and Royalties

With apportioning surveys, investigators measure the lost profits caused by IP rights violations or infringement. Next, they create a baseline for profits. This baseline is a regular or guaranteed pay rate you receive from your intellectual property. Finally, the investigators identify the reasonable royalty for your IP. A reasonable royalty is what the court would expect you to receive based on an acceptable or fair rate, and most courts use the Georgia-Pacific factors when calculating these royalties.

Conclusion

Intellectual property investigations are valuable opportunities for substantiating infringement and assessing damages. If you suspect IP violations, these investigations help you prove them and collect evidence. With the investigation findings, you make a well-informed decision about the most appropriate response to these crimes.