An idea can become a prosperous business or popular product; it can change lives and the world. From inception to fruition, an idea needs to be protected. Before an idea is pitched to members of a market, it should first be established whether or not a similar idea previously, currently, or is intended for use. To obtain these results, an intellectual property investigation should be conducted by a licensed and appropriately certified firm or individual.

In conducting intellectual property investigations, researchers come across sensitive and confidential information. Therefore, investigators must exercise discretion, and in scenarios requiring any degree of discretion, ethical parameters must be set. There is a fine line between discretion and deception, and the individuals that you trust with your property should not only know the difference, but also that this line cannot be blurred.

Intellectual property investigators can only negotiate terms of a transition of intellectual property. An investigator should not pressure the release of a certain mark, copyrighted material, or domain name. Though investigators are given a number of tools to provide their service, including vast databases, specialized software, and unparalleled training, at the end of the day, they are not lawyers. A great intellectual property investigator understands the boundaries of property acquisition; the reach of the legal system; and the ethical fortitude to understand the delineation between these fields.

Intellectual property investigations can provide diverse results. Should a similar property be found currently or previously in use, it does not necessarily undermine the growth of a new property. The same could be said about properties that are intended for use. In fact, in certain scenarios the holder of the alternative property can be contacted to acquire the rights to a trademark, copyright, and/or domain. Again, discretion must be exercised so that crucial information is not revealed during this interaction that could unfairly drive up the price of the acquisition. Herein lays the ethical dilemma, as the skilled and properly trained intellectual property investigators will likely have to reveal a modicum of intent regarding the inquiry. Revealing too much information could ruin any potential deal while withholding information could implicate your precious property in an unfavorable scenario possibly ending in litigation.

Intellectual property can grow into an individual’s legacy. As such, the reputation that this mark maintains should be of great importance to the bearer. Make sure that your intellectual property gets to market the right way, so that its growth doesn’t needed to be burdened from the very start. Enough businesses and products fail in their earliest stages; there is no reason to doom a property at birth due to the use of unethical practices. Before you’re ready to move to market, consult a licensed and certified investigative firm to get the results you need.

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