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What constitutes intellectual property infringement?

Infringements on any intellectual property rights you have should be taken seriously. As a Californian, you have protections for patents, copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks. According to Copyright Alliance, your rights to protect your intellectual property rights against infringements is granted under federal law. In general, infringement occurs whenever anyone violates the specific rights granted to you under federal law.

Patents offer you protection against anyone creating your invention and trying to use it as their own. This also covers you if someone were to try to import or export your invention without your permission.

Copyrights are automatic protection you gain as soon as you have secured a work in a tangible form. Your work is protected against someone else producing, performing or using your work in any way. You are also able to prevent people from claiming your work as their own.

Trade secrets are probably the most difficult to protect because once they are made public knowledge, you lose all protection. However, you are protected if someone takes a trade secret or otherwise shares it with anyone who is unauthorized to know it.

Trademarks can be infringed upon if someone were to start using your trademark on their products. Also, if someone is using a trademark that is too similar to yours and could confuse the general public into thinking it is yours, this could be infringement.   

In most cases, you must have your intellectual property registered with the correct federal agency in order to claim infringement. While this information should not be taken as legal advice, it can help you understand the process and what to expect.

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