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Why intellectual property theft hurts small businesses

Who gets hurt by intellectual property theft?

The real answer: small businesses.

Certainly, big companies get stung, too, when someone steals their trademark-, copyright- or patented-protected material. But such companies have more resources to fight and preempt this infringement. Whether you're in Sacramento, Scottsdale or San Antonio, it's the small businesses that really have a hard time.

Take, for example, the maker of Linatex rubber squeegees. Linatex is a trademarked brand name for a special type of rubber. The maker of Linatex rubber squeegees was doing a good business until another firm started making rubber squeegees and printing "Linatex" on them, even though they were not Linatex-brand squeegees. Customers who got the inferior squeegees were upset with the product and decided to avoid "Linatex" squeegees -- both the legitimate kind and the knockoffs -- in the future.

So, not only did the maker of genuine Linatex squeegees lose customers to the impostor, he lost goodwill and brand image, too, because the knockoff squeegees were not as good as the Real McCoy.

This is but one example of how small firms can be hurt by intellectual property theft. Although we know small businesses have a lot of costs to attend to, working with an attorney to protect your intellectual property assets as best as you can is not a waste of your resources. Who knows what tribulations it could save you in the future?

For further information on intellectual property tools and how they could be used for your business, you might choose to visit our Intellectual Property page. We have tried to fill it with relevant information, so we hope it proves to be informative and enlightening.

Source: The Star Tribune, "Intellectual property theft hurts small businesses," Dee DePass, Nov. 3, 2012

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