Do I have any legal rights to go after them to stop if I do not have any patents on these designs? 3 Answers as of August 24, 2015

I have been designing and developing products for years and there is a particular company that keeps copying and producing my designs.

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Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
Your rights are limited because you do not have any issued patents that protect your inventions. It is possible that the inventions existed prior to your design and development. The patent office searches for prior inventions before they issue a patent. You may have rights under Trade Dress. Trade dress is a legal term of art that generally refers to characteristics of the visual appearance of a product. You should consult with an Intellectual Property attorney to determine if you have any rights under Trade Dress for your particular designs.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/24/2015
Microtechnology Law & Analysis | Daniel Flamm
It all depends on what you have been doing to protect your ideas and designs. You probably own copyrights to the designs (if they are original), but need to register those copyrights to enforce them and/or collect damages. You might have been able to apply for design and/or utility patent protection- but if you have not done so and your designs and/or patents have been public for more than one year, it is probably too late. If there is substantial value at stake, I'd suggest engaging a patent attorney to sort this out for you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/24/2015
Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
If your design has a particular look or distinctiveness, then there might be a federal trade dress claim you could pursue (more facts are needed to assess) and perhaps state claims of unfair competition.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/24/2015
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