Entrepreneurship Tested: National CFO Services Firm’s Founder, Jerry L. Mills, Discusses Lessons Learned Regarding Copyright Infringements
B2B CFO’s founder and CEO, Jerry L. Mills, shares how he handles and leads his company through difficult cases of theft, plagiarism and infringements on intellectual property rights
PHOENIX (Nov. 12, 2009) – Some believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Phoenix based entrepreneur and business expert Jerry L. Mills is not flattered and not amused by others replicating his firm’s propriety materials. In fact, this CEO of the nation’s fastest growing CFO services firm has a strong message to other business owners: protect your intellectual property, or prepare to have it stolen.
He does not say this with a light heart; his firm has dedicated tremendous resources this year to fight off blatant plagiarism of copyrighted content as well as cases of intellectual property rights infringement and theft.
In June of 2009, searches for key phrases unique to B2B CFO’s Web site content resulted in a stunning discovery of dozens other businesses plagiarizing the company’s content word-for-word on their Web sites. The problem was so widespread that this year alone B2B CFO has encountered more than 40 separate cases of plagiarism, including several competitors using B2B CFO’s registered trademark.
As the nation’s largest CFO firm dedicated exclusively to serving small and mid-size businesses, B2B CFO works diligently on its online branding – constantly building fresh blog content, improving its Web site and investing in strategic Search Engine Optimization. Now, Mills and his company have set up procedures to handle most of the issues related to the plagiarism of the company’s Web site. Mills designated Rick Daigle, an Atlanta partner with an extensive I.T. background, as the company’s Website Plagiarism Specialist. Daigle recommends using the website Copyscape and Google Alerts to help find offenders.
According to Daigle, when an offender is first identified, all relative evidence of the infringement is collected and saved. Next, Mills and Daigle send a “cease and desist” letter notifying the offender of the laws against copyright infringement as a direct violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and International Law. They give the offender 72 hours to correct the issue before turning the violators over to the firm’s law firm.
In an economy where online commerce is crucial, protecting oneself against Web site plagiarism is absolutely essential to the small and mid-sized business owner.
But B2B CFO’s challenges with eager copycats did not end online. The company has recently uncovered a case of another business using B2B CFO copyrighted materials offline as well. To properly handle this case and to ensure that a proper precedent is set for any future theft of intellectual property, B2B CFO has filed a lawsuit against Kenneth Kaufman and CFO Wise citing infringement of copyrighted materials.
Mills advises copyright owners to consult with an attorney to see if the laws related to RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) might help them in protecting their copyrighted assets by filing criminal copyright infringement, as well as asking for treble damages in a lawsuit.
The ongoing theft and plagiarism have left Mills and his Partners in B2B CFO committed to continuous monitoring and protecting the company’s intellectual property.
“We all have a vested interest in our company’s future,” said Mills. “And it is great to see the entire company united in our goal to eliminate cases of theft and plagiarism.”
Mills advises fellow business owners to take proper measures to protect the intellectual property of their Companies. “Protect your rights by filing for trademarks, copyrights, and patents, and by having strict confidentiality agreements,” said Mills. “But know that regardless of your efforts, some will disregard these rights and steal your intellectual property. Having proper documentation and protection upfront might help your employees and legal team with the tools to protect your intellectual property.”