Paul C. VanSlyke, Senior Counsel at Hoover Slovacek LLP
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What outcomes are possible in copyright litigation?

Protecting intellectual property is paramount for individuals and businesses here in Texas and elsewhere. When it becomes clear that someone is using protected material without permission, the owner of that property needs to take swift action, which could include simply asking the other party to stop using the material. When amicable efforts to resolve the situation fail, copyright litigation may ensue.

One question probably on the minds of everyone involved is what kind of damages a court could award if it rules in favor of the plaintiff. After determining whether the material has copyright protection, whether the other party infringed on that protection and what harm it caused or may continue to cause the material's owner, the court can make several rulings. What choices the court makes could have a significant impact on both parties.

First, the court may order the infringing party to immediately stop whatever actions created the infringement. If materials are involved, the court may order their destruction. The court could then order the parties to attempt to negotiate an agreement to allow the defendant use of the material in exchange for compensation to the plaintiff.

If these efforts are successful, then the litigation ends. On the other hand, if an agreement cannot be reached, the court will then take further action. The court may then consider a monetary award to provide restitution if appropriate.

What remedies copyright litigation will produce in a particular situation depends on numerous factors. For this reason, presenting the most comprehensive case possible is vital to the success of either party. Considering the complexity of this area of law, it makes sense to enlist the aid of an experienced attorney.

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