submit to reddit

In a ZD Net India article about corporate blogging guidelines, Tan Min-Liang, associate director at Singapore-based law firm Keystone Law, said that having blogging guidelines in place can help companies prevent potential lawsuits.
“The employee has corresponding rights to expression,” he said, “given (that he follows) proper guidelines as to what to disclose and what not to disclose.”
More than 70 percent of corporations have no corporate blogging guidelines, according to recent a white paper.

Intellectual property (IP) includes, among other things, the books that we read, the music that we listen to, and the products that improve our lives. Just as the law grants ownership rights over material possessions, such as a home or a bicycle, it similarly grants individuals legal rights over IP, including trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and patents. When a person creates something that is novel and unique, the law recognizes its value and grants the creator the respect and integrity of ownership for this IP.

IP may be stolen or misappropriated in many ways. A copyrighted work, such as computer software, may be illegally infringed by making and selling an unauthorized copy. A trademark may be infringed by selling a good with a counterfeit mark. A trade secret may be stolen from its owner and used to benefit a competitor. A patent may be infringed upon if someone makes, uses, or sells the patented invention without the patent owner’s permission.

The theft of IP has real-world consequences. Not only are they threats to businesses and the economy, but certain types of intellectual property crimes also endanger lives. As examples: the World Health Organization estimates counterfeit drugs account for eight to ten percent of all pharmaceuticals worldwide; and the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports counterfeit cell phone batteries caused fires and injuries across the United States, resulting in the recall of more than one million batteries.

Misusing copyrighted materials, stealing trade secrets, and counterfeiting trademarked products are crimes. And, just as IP has become more important to the U.S. economy, IP crime has become easier and the consequences more damaging.

Criminal counterfeiting and piracy cost U.S. companies an estimated $200 to $250 billion a year in lost revenues, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Moreover, as a direct result of counterfeit products and Internet theft of intellectual property, the American economy is losing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues, wages, and investment dollars, as well as hundreds of thousands of jobs.

In response to this growing threat, on March 31, 2004, the Attorney General of the U.S. announced the creation of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Task Force on Intellectual Property. The Task Force was entrusted with an important mission: to examine all of the DOJ’s IP enforcement efforts and to explore methods for strengthening the protection of valuable intellectual resources. The findings of the Task Force were published in the DOJ document, Report of the Department of Justice’s Task Force on Intellectual Property.

More recently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce established the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) whose mission is to champion IP as vital to creating jobs, saving lives, advancing global economic growth, and generating breakthrough solutions to global challenges. GIPC was created to lead the worldwide effort against the theft of IP. GIPC recently published Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement Manual: A Practical and Legal Guide for Protecting Your Intellectual Property Rights. The manual is intended to help businesses protect their consumers and their brands from the growing international threat to IP. Business owners will find this manual useful in gaining a better understanding of their IP assets and to develop business practices and procedures that will help protect such assets from falling victim to counterfeiting and piracy. Learn more from the professionals about theft protection in Fort Worth area.

This report defines IP and provides information on the laws that protect IP.

The Problem
Global intellectual property theft and commerce in counterfeit and pirated goods are growing at an alarming pace. Counterfeiting is no longer limited to the knockoffs of high-end designer handbags sold on city street corners but, instead, has evolved into a sophisticated black market industry involving the manufacture and sale of counterfeit versions of an unimaginable number of products. Reports of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, infant formula, automobile parts, batteries, and electronic products occur all too frequently and make chillingly clear the potential harm that could be inflicted on consumers, not to mention the counterfeited brand. At bottom, counterfeiters are opportunists motivated by greed and will move whatever products they can through their illicit chains of distribution. Indeed, whether it is knockoff designer handbags or fake pharmaceuticals, it does not matter to the counterfeiters — as long as there is a market for the product, they will manufacture and sell it. Accordingly, every business is at risk.

It is estimated that intellectual property theft costs domestic companies between $200 billion and $250 billion a year in lost revenues and has resulted in the loss of 750,000 jobs in the United States. The harm caused by counterfeiting and piracy cannot be overstated. Every sale made by a counterfeiter is a sale that a legitimate business will never make. Because the counterfeiter is unlikely to have access to the same quality raw goods as the legitimate manufacturer and has no incentive to institute quality control practices or procedures, the resulting counterfeit product is most assuredly inferior in quality — and, in many instances, can be downright dangerous — compared to the legitimate product. As a result, an introduction into the market of a single counterfeit product has the potential to undermine and irrevocably damage years of building a business’ goodwill and reputation.

What Is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property includes trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and patents.

Trademarks generally consist of a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that identify and distinguish the source of the goods of one party from the goods of another. A service mark is accorded the same legal status as a trademark under U.S. law, except that a service mark identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Although it is recommended, registration of a trademark is not required for a business to have rights in the mark. Adoption and use in commerce by a business is sufficient to give rise to common law rights in the mark. Protection for trademarks exists within common law for as long as the mark is properly used. However, greater protection exists for federally registered trademarks, such as the ability for enforcement at U.S. borders.