Infringement of patent is a huge subject governed by the protection of intellectual property law that allows a person the right to prevent others from copying a design, product or creation through the use of copyright and trademarks.
Dietary supplements are big business in the US and the rest of the world. By their very nature, dietary supplements proclaim to boost well-being, energy, nutrition and general health. When someone comes along and tries to misrepresent one product as being the same as another established and successful line, the results can have a far reaching and unpleasant effect on manufacturers, retailers and consumers.
Preventing such a situation from occurring is a matter of deciding how best to protect against the violation of intellectual property, not only for the sake of the manufacturer but also for the prevention of harm to the end user who might believe they are consuming one product when in fact they are potentially taking a daily dose of a completely alien substance to that described on the packaging.
Copyright is simply a protection against replication of original work. Books, poetry, dramatic creations, whether published or not fall into this category. And any dietary supplement manufacturer might wish to copyright labels, company documentation, logos and other intellectual material in the belief that this will keep copycats from violating their brand.
The copying of such material involves the offended party proving trespass in the simple and straightforward matter of gathering evidence and presenting it in a way that leaves no doubt of violation. The advertising industry can help the owner of intellectual property prove an infringement simply by doing its job effectively – as the wider the audience, the greater the damage is deemed to be.
When trademarks are registered in combination with copyright, however, greater protection is achieved as website content, advertising material, logos and documentation are then covered. A trademark distinguishes proven ownership of the brand in a way that copyright does not. And the protection covers the use of a name or presented image that is similar if not an exact copy, making it possible for the owner of that intellectual property to pursue the violator through the court to secure compensation.
There is an advantage in registering trademarks although it is not strictly required. A registered trademark may not be replicated, whereas a trademark that is merely recognised as belonging to a certain owner could easily be copied in another state or country without fear of reprisal.
Certainly dietary supplements may be copyrighted. They may also be trademarked for added protection and that trademark registered for added security across state lines and overseas. In the supplement sector, however, there is also a real danger to public health when a copycat company tries to emulate the brand of a recognised and acknowledged company producing an effective health product. And the advent of the internet has brought into clear focus the perils of purchasing cheap alternatives to genuine products manufactured with quality ingredients.
Before making a decision on copyright and trademarks, consult a professional patent attorney.