Avoiding intellectual property infringement

| Mar 1, 2021 | Intellectual Property

Intellectual property involves rights that a party has to intangible items like copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and other things. People who infringe on another’s intellectual property can be liable to the party that holds intellectual property rights. Residents of Texas and other jurisdictions should understand some of ways to avoid infringing on intellectual property rights.

Fair use

Fair use is a common defense to copyright and trademark infringement. In essence, this defense protects certain uses of intellectual property because public policy deems it objectionable to hold the alleged infringer liable for using someone else’s work. When evaluating fair use, courts typically consider the type of use, how much of the work was copied, whether money was earned through the use and other factors. Fair use is a complicated doctrine, so individuals should speak with an experienced intellectual property lawyer to see if they have a defense.

Licenses

Licenses are essentially permissions to use another person’s intellectual property for a specified purpose. Generally, licenses need to be in writing and discuss which uses are authorized by the license and how long the license shall last. Licenses can also be inferred by conduct of the parties, but intellectual property lawyers may draft a license agreement to memorialize all of the expectations of the parties.

Public domain materials

Some intellectual property is in the public domain and is free to use by all without the risk of infringement. Certain works that were published before a specific date may be in the public domain, and other works are free to use by all because the authors of the works granted everyone the right to use the works free of charge. It is important to do research to ensure that a work is actually free to use.

Create original media

If an author creates new media, they can use the work as they please. However, if a work copies from existing material, there may be issues. You may want to consult with an experienced intellectual property lawyer if you have any questions about liability for infringement.