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Intellectual Property Rights

Can Background Checks Detect False Intellectual Property Rights?

Many people are surprised to hear what comes up in a background check, and they often feel it may not bode well for them if a potential employer were to see it. Some may wonder if a background check is able to detect false intellectual property rights that he or she claimed in an application or on his or her resume. The answer is a bit complicated, so we will discuss it bit by bit, starting with a basic understanding of intellectual property.

Intellectual Property: Just the Basics

Intellectual property is a multi-millenia-old concept started by the Greeks to keep others from stealing the fruits of one’s own intellect. In the present-day United States, as well as most other nations, there are 4 different types of intellectual property: patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret. These all differ slightly in what they protect, but that issue is not of much pertinence here.

At its core, intellectual property is indeed property. The person that has rights to it has it exclusively. Intellectual property theft is a common form of white-collar crime. If someone is found to be violating someone else’s intellectual property rights, the law prescribes harsh punishment for intellectual property theft and the owner can sue the other for damages.

Your Criminal Record

If you have, at one point or another, been convicted of intellectual property theft, this will very likely appear in a background check run by a potential employer or other entity. As described above, the consequences for stealing intellectual property can be severe, but the other side effects, like potentially not being considered for a job because it was flagged by the employer as a bad sign, can be injurious as well.

While this may not look good to an employer, there is little to be done now. If you have a record of intellectual property theft, your best bet is to explain what happened to the employer and let them decide how they want to proceed.

Patents, Trademarks, or Lack Thereof

Filing for rights to intellectual property is done through the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is public record. You can search through their database yourself at their website, which can be fun. That being said, however, it is public information filed with the government, so it can be accessed via a background check if the employer requests for it.

Most employers will likely not include patents, trademarks, and other forms of intellectual property in the criteria search. While most will not include intellectual property rights, they could do so if it applies directly to the position for which you are applying. They may also include it in their research if you boast holding a patent or trademark for some idea or invention in your application or interview or have it listed on your resume.

If the patent or trademark doesn’t come up, because you’re claiming false intellectual property rights, this will be a red flag for employers. They may not feel like they can trust what you have to say, and they may even choose to not consider you for the position for which you applied.

Best Course of Action

The best thing to do is to not claim false intellectual property rights, but in many cases, that thought comes too late. It is always best practice to speak honestly with the person who will be running a background check on you, especially if you are confronted. If you are unsure if your claim has gone through and don’t want things to seem suspicious, it may be good to run a background check on yourself.

Intellectual Property Background Check

Use Affordable Background Checks and See For Yourself

Ultimately, if the question you have hasn’t been answered or if you are still curious yourself, you can always run a background check on yourself. Or if you are the employer, you can run a check on a candidate that you feel may be claiming false intellectual property rights.

Those of us at Affordables Background Checks believe that no one should be unable to run a background check because it is too expensive. Our name captures what we believe in: accurate and complete background checks at a price that anyone can afford. We will get the job done fast and your satisfaction is always guaranteed.

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Gavin Muirhead

Gavin Muirhead has been involved in developing products for background checks and improving online experiences in the background screening industry since 2012. He is the lead author and editor of Affordable Background Checks.