Intellectual property fraud, or IP fraud, involves the use of misrepresentation or deceit in order to reap profits from another person’s copyrighted, patented, or trademarked material. It can also involve a misappropriation of a trade secret through the use of misrepresentation.
One of the most common forms of intellectual property fraud is called “invention promotion fraud.” This is where a promotion agency intentionally fails to develop or promote an invention or idea according to contract or payment terms. Also, the agency might take the idea or patent entrusted to them by the inventor and create their own invention based on that patent or idea. Some other types of IP fraud involve infringement or other similar violations.
Intellectual property fraud can be very damaging as it can cause financial losses for people who are expecting to profit from their protected material. IP fraud cases can also be damaging to companies or individuals who are legitimately trying to promote or develop a product. As with any violation, there may be defenses for violations based on intellectual property fraud.
These defenses may include:
- Consent: If the intellectual property owner consents to usage of their intellectual property, they might have a more difficult time trying to prove that the exact usage was without their consent.
- Unclean Hands: Many IP fraud allegations involve some form of breach of contract. Contract defenses may be available if that is the case, such as the unclean hands doctrine. This means that the plaintiff cannot recover from the defendant if they also have engaged in some sort of fraud in relation to the dispute at hand.
- Non-Fraudulent Statement: It may be a defense if the statement, representation, or contract terms were not fraudulent at all. For instance, it may be the case that the parties had a misunderstanding regarding an intellectual property contract term. In such cases, a different remedy might be assigned by the court, such as rewriting the contract terms or removing certain sections of the contract.
Lastly, it may be a defense if the material involved in the dispute is not protected by intellectual property laws yet. For instance, if a company’s mark has not yet been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it may be more difficult to recover damages for violations related to that piece of intellectual property.
Intellectual property fraud is a serious charge. In some cases, it can lead to severe legal consequences and even criminal charges. You may need to hire an intellectual property attorney in your area if you need assistance with IP fraud issues. Your attorney can research the laws to determine what types of legal defenses might apply to the case you are involved in. Also, if you have questions during court meetings or if you need guidance during the process, your lawyer can provide legal representation during formal hearings.