Exploitation, Patents and Trademarks
Exploitation - a right: the exploitation right represents the right to exploit intellectual property. This is transferable - copywriters usually sell it, and other creatives rarely assume that they can exploit a work that arose for a client. The right of exploitation may be unlimited or limited and shall be defined by the author and the person acquiring the right of exploitation.
For example, a writer might release their text for restricted use (the client can do what he wants with it), or insist that the text be published only once. The copyright is not affected. Also, no other person except the author may designate as the author, unless it is different and mutually agreed (hope you are reading this, CEOs, with ghostwriters, and so forth).
Protecting technical inventions: Patent law is a way to protect intellectual property that is capable of bringing about a technical innovation. This ensures that you are the only person who can bring about this innovation in this way. If someone else has the same idea, he has been unlucky. It does not matter whether or not he developed his idea independently of your work. To register a patent costs money and can be regulated by the patent office.
The advantage lies in the fact that patent infringements can be punished due to standardized legal norms. In turn, trademark law gives you the opportunity to have your trademark legally protected. If you have invested a lot in your personal branding and this symbolic or pictorial is also presentable, it may be useful to protect this. You make sure that the brand belongs to you and nobody else can use a similar brand.
Prevention and Defense against violations
As far as copyright is concerned, most of the time you have a duty to defend it. This goes handing in hand with being responsible for literally everything when you are self employed. The only exception is if there is industrial property rights (by filing with the Trademark and Patent Office). The task of maintaining this legal protection, you can actually cede. Practically, however, this will hardly ever happen, insofar as you, as a freelancer, are primarily dealing with customers. Basically, intellectual property protection is only interesting if you produce classically - which often leaves the path of the creative.
If someone infringes the copyright, you can do different things. First of all, demand an omission. Urging to omit is in a sense your duty as the author if someone violates your copyright. It is also a prerequisite for initiating further legal action. If this is not done, a lawyer should be threatened. There are specialized copyright lawyers.
In the final instance, claims for damages would be considered, but they only make sense if demonstrable monetary damage has been caused by the infringement of copyright. Since the procedures here draw and sometimes cost a lot of money, you should put in the event of a copyright infringement rather on a cease and desist. On the other hand, if your intellectual property is willfully copied or robbed and subsequently used to make a profit, the legal situation regarding claims for damages is quite clear. You have to prove that your copyright has been violated and everything else is a matter of calculations and interpretations of the court. However, such procedures take a long time. It’s Germany, after all.
In such cases it can also happen that the customers to whom you grant a right of exploitation become active - after all, they too are restricted in their exploitation rights. However, you are no longer entitled to monetary compensation if the exploitation right has been assigned. In the case of infringement of patent or trademark law, it is usually less about copyright infringement than protecting your commercial interests. In these cases, a specialist lawyer is preferable.