As a business owner, much of your value comes from your intellectual property. Perhaps you have a well-known brand that draws consumers in.
When intellectual property gets stolen, it can be very costly. There are three main costs to be wary of:
- Losing sales to copycat products: Other companies use your knowledge and information to create the same products. You invested a lot to develop that information, but they get it for free and begin taking orders from potential buyers.
- Losing sales to counterfeit items: Another company manufactures goods and claims they are yours. This infringes on your brand identity. Customers that already trust your brand buy these products, and you lose out on sales. You also lose the money you spent on advertising and building up your brand's reputation. You expected a return on that investment, but you do not hit your projections because sales are going elsewhere -- even when your advertising and branding worked exactly as you expected.
- Fighting back against infringement: This process can take a long time, and you may need to sink significant resources into it. Every penny you spend and every hour you use fighting back against infringement is also time and money you lost due to that theft.
Intellectual property theft can be extremely damaging to your business. That's why it is important to act quickly to stop the loss. Make sure you know what legal options you have and how you should proceed if you are a victim.