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U.S. looks to stop theft of intellectual property rights

As many New Jersey business owners understand, there are many different types of property. Each type of property has the potential to be very profitable for businesses. Intellectual property rights protect business concepts, products and ideas and it can be as valuable as any other type of property.

As the owner of intellectual property — including trade secrets, patents or copyrights, among others — that business has the exclusive right to profit from the intellectual property. This means that no other business can use, sell or make money from another’s intellectual property without permission.

Despite the laws, intellectual property theft is still a problem in New Jersey and around the country. Much of this theft has been occurring from international companies — particularly those located in China. Some of the theft has occurred through hacking of computer and internet systems. However, much of the theft has happened when former employees of U.S. companies have leaked trade secrets to international competitors.

Recently, the White House has announced that it will increase efforts to stop international intellectual property theft. Under this plan, the administration wants to increase diplomatic pressure in hopes that other countries won’t allow intellectual property right violations to occur. The administration has also announced that it will begin a public campaign to educate people about the damage caused by intellectual property theft. Finally, it plans to increase U.S. enforcement of the current laws, while Congress debates new intellectual property rights protections.

While the administration works to try and prevent international intellectual property theft, New Jersey businesses need to also be proactive about protecting their intellectual property rights. By being aware of their rights, business will be in a better position to fight against theft.

Source: Asbury Park Press, “White House announces anti-theft trade strategy,” Feb. 20, 2013

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