Dallas Intellectual Property Theft & Piracy Attorneys
Texas takes pride in providing a friendly environment for businesses and corporations, including companies in the energy, pharmaceutical, and high-tech industries. When people allegedly break laws meant to protect those companies’ intellectual property and trade secrets, state and federal prosecutors will seek maximum punishment, including fines and prison.
If you have been charged with intellectual property theft or are being investigated for the offense, you should seek help as soon as possible from an experienced Dallas intellectual property theft defense lawyer. At Broden & Mickelsen, LLP, we can bring more than 60 years of combined experience to your case, including an extensive background in representing clients charged in state and federal courts with intellectual property theft.
We are ready to provide a free, confidential review of your case. Contact us today to learn more.
What Is Considered Intellectual Property Theft?
Intellectual property can be broadly defined as any idea, invention, or process that is born from the mind of an individual or from a collective group. It can include content, software, formulas, methods, and techniques, including works protected by copyright, trademark, and patent laws. For many companies doing business in Dallas and throughout Texas, their intellectual property is their most valuable asset.
When intellectual property is allegedly stolen, it is most often prosecuted under Texas law as a violation of Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 31.05. Under this statute, it is a felony if a person, without the owner’s effective consent:
- Steals a trade secret
- Makes a copy of an article representing a trade secret
- Communicates or transmits a trade secret
Texas law defines a trade secret as “the whole or any part of any scientific or technical information, design, process, procedure, formula, or improvement that has value,” which the owner “has taken measures to prevent from becoming available to persons other than those” the owner selected to have access for limited purposes.
Often, a federal law enforcement agency such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) handles the investigation of suspected intellectual property theft. As a result, the case is prosecuted under federal law. Under 18 U.S.C. § 1832, it is a crime to knowingly steal, copy, download, alter, destroy, send, buy, receive, or possess protected trade secrets without the owner’s authorization.
However, trade secrets theft may not be the only charge a person faces. A trade secrets prosecution may also include charges for:
- Copyright infringement – This happens when someone uses a work protected by copyright without permission or in a way that is not permitted, or when someone uses the protected work to make something derivative of it.
- Patent theft – The unauthorized taking or use of patented inventions can also be prosecuted – typically as trade secrets theft. Patent theft is an issue that often arises in the pharmaceutical and tech industries.
- Piracy – This is a type of intellectual property theft in which the person illegally reproduces or distributes copyrighted material. In today’s world, piracy often involves stealing and copying digital property.
- Counterfeiting – It is considered counterfeiting when someone tries to profit by making and distributing a fraudulent imitation of a genuine product (and, by definition, a product of lesser value than that product). For instance, if a person steals a formula for a specific medication and then uses the theft to make and sell an imitation of the medication, the person could face both trade secrets theft and counterfeit charges.
Because of our deep background in intellectual property defense at both the trial and appellate levels, we know how to investigate and identify issues in these cases and craft effective defense strategies.