Intellectual property involves the creation of artistic designs, writings, names, logos, and ideas. Intellectual property includes writings, artwork, computer programs, trademarks, industrial designs, copyrights, patents, lay-out designs, and trade secrets. Intellectual property falls into one of two distinct categories, including copyrights and trademarks. Authored manuscripts, songs, paintings, and textile designs typically fall under copyrighted material. Brand names and logos generally fall under trademarks. Sole proprietors, small businesses, and corporate entities can file for copyright, patent, and trademark registration to prevent plagiarizers and violators from infringing their work.
- The United States Copyright Office defines the Fair Use doctrine as a copyright law that limits the use of copyrighted works for reporting, criticism, commentary, and educational purposes.
- The Fair Use doctrine does not cover competing works.
- The text from a video game may fall under the Fair Use doctrine; however, the text from a strategy guide may not carry this same liberty.
Copyrighted material serves to protect against plagiarism. Plagiarism involves the intentional act of stealing another person’s writing, lyrics, conversation, or idea and then taking credit for the work. The act of plagiarizing material does not become an issue until it breaches a copyright that protects the intellectual property rights of the individual who created the original work. Plagiarism can involve stealing information from web pages, television shows, email messages, articles, artwork, interviews, books, lyrics, and magazine excerpts. When somebody takes information from another person’s work, it becomes necessary to indicate the source to avoid violating copyright provisions. Plagiarism does not strictly limit itself to copying information word-for-word. In fact, plagiarism engulfs the act of summarizing, paraphrasing, or taking words from an original work without adding a proper citation. Proper citation requires the inclusion of an internal citation within a body of text that snatches information from another source. Citing the source of borrowed information passes credit to the original author. Writers who fail to add internal citations to borrowed content will find themselves guilty of plagiarism. Writers can use the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), and the Chicago Manual of Style to learn about appropriate ways to cite different sources.
- Copyright is a claim that someone owns the intellectual property rights of a work.
- Authors can use factual information within their own works if they provide credit to the source.
- Authors cannot impart creative information from another person’s work into their own without properly citing the source.
Copyright violations extend far beyond borrowed text. In fact, corporations spend millions of dollars to develop innovative textile designs, which give them an advantage over foreign competitors. Textile designs, such as upholstery fabric and carpentry, often become the victim of copyright violations. According to the United States Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA), the domestic textile industry has suffered a loss of 100 million dollars in total sales due to intellectual property right (IPR) infringement of textile copyrights. Many corporations have to contend with the marketing of counterfeit merchandise that infringes on the intellectual property rights obtained in the United States. In fact, many of these foreign violators have marketed this same counterfeited merchandise in the United States and third-world marketplace.
The United States does not require copyright registration to benefit from its protections; however, registration does offer several benefits. For instance, copyright registration offers proof of ownership of intellectual property rights. Without official records of copyright registration, the owner may lose their intellectual property rights (IPR) to someone who has registered it with documentation to prove it. The owners of intellectual property rights who have evidence to support ownership can report IPR crimes to the United States Department of Justice and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center. IPR owners can escalate their claim by consulting with their attorneys about filing a Section 337 complaint with the United States International Trade Commission for foreign infringement and other forms of unfair import competition and unlawful business practices. Section 337 investigations typically involve registered trademark infringement; however, some instances of copyright infringement may be involved as well. Foreign copyright violators typically receive a cease and desist order that bars their products from entering the United States. Small businesses may also contact the United States International Trade Commission to discover legal recourse and benefits available under U.S. trade laws. If a corporation or business owner wants to pursue it further in the foreign country where the violation occurred, then they would need to work with local authorities and courts to enforce existing copyright laws.
Manufacturers and merchants use trademarks, a word, name, symbol, device, or phrase, to identify their goods as their own. Trademarks distinguish a company’s products from their competitors. Trademarks typically include the names of apparel brands, logos, and the companies themselves. Companies obtain trademarks by filing their name or symbol with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Federal trademark registration serves several benefits, including ownership of a patent or trademark, exclusive rights of using the mark nationwide, the right to bring legal action against trademark infringement violators, the ability to prevent the importation of infringing foreign goods, the legal right to the federal registration symbol ®, and the right to list a trademark in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s searchable databases.
- A trademark protects the name of a creator and its goods, such as a company’s name, logo, or brand.
- Businesses who infringe, or use a trademark unlawfully, risk losing their marketing power. Choose a unique trademark.
- Conduct research on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to see if a trademark already exists.
- Be sure to check state registers to ensure that trademark disputes do not ensue in the future.
Trademark owners can report violators to the United States Department of Justice and the National Rights Coordination Center for intellectual property crime taking place on the World Wide Web and within the United States. Owners can file a Section 337 complaint for foreign trademark infringement with the United States International Trade Commission to halt unfair competition import trade and other unlawful business practices. Small businesses can find remedies and benefits under the United States trade laws supplied by the Trade Remedy Assistance Office (TRAO). Emerging businesses can avoid trademark infringement by conducting research on the United States Patent and Trademark Office database. Unregistered trademarks or trademarks registered in a state bear the “TM” and “SM” (service mark) symbols. As previously mentioned, federally registered trademarks bear the “ ®” symbol. Emerging business should keep in mind that similar trademarks can cause consumer confusion. As a result, businesses should choose completely different trademarks and then check them against state and federal registers. If a positive result surfaces during the trademark search, businesses can consult a trademark attorney to weigh their options.
Follow these links to learn more about how to prevent plagiarism and copyright and trademark infringement:
- Understanding Plagiarism: A comprehensive document that defines plagiarism and its ill effects on writers. It also lists preventative measures that writers can take to ensure they do not commit or become a victim of plagiarism.
- Purdue Owl: APA Manual: The University of Purdue provides an online writing lab that address the American Psychological Association’s (APA) citation guidelines, including in-text citations, reference lists, footnotes, and end notes.
- MLA Citation Guide: The Rochester Institution of Technology provides a document on citing resources using the Modern Language Association (MLA) style guide. This document shows writers to how create in-text citations and a works cited page.
- The Chicago Manual of Style Online: The Chicago Manual of Style presents two types of citation methods, including bibliography and author-date formats.
- How to Prevent Plagiarism: Carnegie Mellon University provides a formal guide to preventing plagiarism for students.
- How to Avoid Plagiarism: The University of Wisconsin-Madison describes ways for authors to avoid plagiarizing via paraphrasing by using direct quotations.
- Things to Consider: Using Plagiarism Prevention Tools: An article that describes how plagiarism prevention tools preserves academic integrity and encourages the proper citation of sources.
- The Plagiarism Checker: A web-based plagiarism checker that students can use to check completed essays and homework assignments.
- Plagiarism.org: A site containing facts and statistics about plagiarism, including resources and tools.
- Copyright Laws and Policy: The United States Copyright Office shares its compendium of laws and policy pertaining to the preservation of an author’s intellectual property rights (IPRs).
- Copyright Basics: The University of Harvard shares copyright basics, including what constitutes copyright infringement and what defenses exist against copyright infringement.
- Copyright Infringement and Remedies: The University of Cornell defines copyright infringement and the legal ramifications of violators.
- All About Trademarks: The United States Patent and Trademark Office defines trademarks and explains the process and prevention methods that owners can use to protect themselves from scam artists.
- Trademark Counterfeiting—Requirements for a “Counterfeit Mark”: The United States Department of Justice explains the phenomenon known as trademark counterfeiting, also known as a “counterfeit mark.”
- Trademark Infringement and Dilution Aspects of Unfair Competition Law: An article that covers trademark infringement and the unfair competition law.
- Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) about Trademark: The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse addresses frequently asked questions (FAQs) about trademark infringement, especially in regards to online violations.
- Trademark Dilution: A website that answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) about trademark dilution.
- Trademark Infringement, Trademark Dilution, and the Decline in Sharing of Famous Brand Names (PDF): An abstract paper that examines trademark infringement, dilution, and sharing of popular brand names.