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What can I do about intellectual property theft?

If you discover that your valuable intellectual property has been stolen, it's crucial that you take the right steps in a timely manner. These crimes can have a significant impact on your business and its profitability. Fortunately, there are avenues available that allow you to report issues and pursue the perpetrators that you believe breached your sensitive data. The U.S. Department of Justice recommends the following steps if you or your business is a victim of intellectual property theft.

Upon discovery of a potential breach, many businesses perform an internal investigation before reaching out to others for assistance. In such a case, recording all information related to the investigation is paramount. Document everything, even if it seems unimportant. This includes all documents related to the protection of intellectual property, interviews of suspects or witnesses, where and how the breach was first discovered, evaluation of items believed to be derived from the stolen information, and any other findings from the investigation. The more evidence you're able to present, the easier it will be to resolve your case.

At this point, you may be interested in reporting the breach to an authority, which can be done on the federal, state, or local level. There are a number of federal entities that review allegations of intellectual property theft. This includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center. The nature of the theft and the type of intellectual property stolen often dictates which government agency has the proper authority to handle the case.

The United States Secret Service, Electronic Crimes Task Forces (ECTFs) has branches situated in various cities across the United States. Additionally, the Department of Justice, Intellectual Property Enforcement Task Forces is an initiative to confront the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes. You can also consult with an intellectual property rights attorney to determine your options when it comes to litigating the matter.

Victims of intellectual property theft in Southern California can reach out to a law firm with experience in intellectual property litigation. The right legal team can help you pursue justice, while also assisting with preventative measures to protect concepts and ideas before they're breached.

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