Thoughts and ideas are just as important to the success of an organization as physical items. That’s why intellectual property protection is such an integral part of many organizations’ work. There are four different types of intellectual property—patents, trademarks, designs, and copyrights. Each of these is discussed in detail below. Intellectual property infringement is the act of using someone else’s intellectual property without their permission. You wouldn’t want someone else taking credit for your hard work and ideas. Keep reading to learn how to protect your intellectual property and look out for signs of intellectual property infringement.

Patents: A patent protects a new invention. It covers how things work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of, and how they are made. A patent gives the owner the right to prevent others from making, using, importing, or selling the invention without permission. Doing so without the owner’s permission is a violation of the owner’s rights and is thus patent infringement.

Trademarks: A trademark, also referred to as a brand, is a way of distinguishing your goods and services from those of your competitors. This can include words, logos, or a combination of both. Registering your trademark gives you the exclusive right to use your mark for your goods and services. Using a mark that is identical or similar to an already registered trademark without the owner’s permission is trademark infringement.

Designs: A registered design protects the overall visual appearance of a product or part of a product. This includes lines, contours, colors, shapes, textures, and materials. Registering your design gives you the exclusive right to the appearance of a product. Using, selling, or importing something that is identical or similar to a registered design without the owner’s permission is design infringement.

Copyrights: Copyrights protect literary works, dramatic works, musical works, artistic works, layouts or typographical arrangements, or recordings or broadcasts of a work. Copyright protection applies to all media. It would therefore be considered copyright infringement to reproduce copyright-protected work in another medium without the owner’s permission. It is important to note that copyright does not protect ideas for a work, but rather only the finished product. Using copyrighted works without the owner’s permission constitutes copyright infringement.

If you believe you might have been victim to intellectual property infringement, FORLETTA can conduct investigations and assist you in disputes. Contact our Pittsburgh- or Cleveland-based investigators today.


Forensic Control. IP Theft.