Intellectual property (IP) is related to inventions, artwork, literature, as well as symbols, and trademarks used in commerce.
There are many laws that protect intellectual property through patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, geographical indications, and business/trade secrets, which allow the recognition or profit from inventions or any other creation. These laws balance the needs of innovators with the public interest. The IP system seeks to set an environment where creativity and innovation can flourish.
The word Copywrite is used to describe the rights that creators have over their pieces of work; they could be literary or artistic works. Projects that apply to copyright protection can be photos, videos, graphics, paintings, films, books, sculptures, music, manuscripts, etc. Software, advertisements, and drawings are also subject to Copywrite laws.
What can be protected by copyright?
The legislation does not usually contain an exhaustive list of works that copyright protects. However, in general terms, among the works usually protected by copyright worldwide are the following:
- Literary including novels, poems, stage performances, reference works, journalistic articles.
- Software and databases.
- Movies, TV shows, videos including tape, DVD, and internet.
- Films, musical compositions, and choreographies.
- Artistic works like paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures.
Copyright protection covers only expressions, but not the ideas, procedures, methods of operation, or mathematical concepts themselves. Copyright may or may not protect elements such as titles, slogans, or logos.
Rights of the author
There are two types of copyrights:
- Property rights: This enables the creator to receive a profit if the product is used.
- Moral rights: that protect the author’s non-proprietary interests.
In most of the cases, the legislation provides that the right-holder can unauthorize the reproduction of the works, or receive a profit when someone uses any part (collective management).
The right-holder of the piece of work can prohibit and also authorize:
- The use of their piece in various forms, such as printed publication or sound recording.
- Public performances, such as a musical or a theatre performance.
- The recording of the work in discs or DVDs, etc.
- Broadcast via internet, radio, cable, or satellite.
- Translation of the work into other languages.
- Adaptation, for example, for TV shows and novels.
The authors of the piece have a universal moral right to claim the ownership of the work and also to oppose any modification to the piece, that could harm their reputation or the reputation of their work.
Is the copyright registered?
In most countries, copyright protection is obtained automatically without the need for any application process. Although, in most countries, there still is a system of optional public filing of these works.
These systems facilitate, for example, clarification of disputes relating to ownership or creation, financial transactions, sales, assignments, and transfers of rights.
Copyright concerns everyday life. Copyright issues are present when you read a book, watch a movie, transfer music, or take a picture.
In copyright law, the word “piece of work” is used to refer to a wide range of intellectual creations, from novels to architectural works, to software, videogames, etcetera.
Modern video games contain at least two main parts: Audiovisual elements, including the sound and video, that are usually straightforward since the images and sounds allow for the interactions between users and the different parts of the game. The software is the second part that is less clear.
Consequently, there are no clear answers to the questions concerning the legal regime applicable to video games. For some countries, video games are predominantly software because of the specific nature of the works and their reliance on software. In other jurisdictions, however, video games are given a distributive classification. Finally, a small number of countries consider that video games are fundamentally audiovisual works.
What is a patent? A patent is an exclusive right granted over an invention. In general terms, a patent entitles its proprietor to decide whether and how the invention may be used by third parties. In return for this right, the patent information is made public, including all the technical information relating to the invention.
What type of protection does the patent provide?
In principle, the holder of the patent has the exclusive right to prevent the invention from being commercially exploited by third parties. Patent protection means that an invention cannot be produced, used, distributed for commercial purposes, or sold without the consent of the patent holder.
Is the patent valid internationally?
Patents are territorial rights. In general, the corresponding exclusive rights are valid only in the country or region in which the application has been filed, and the patent has been granted in accordance with the regulations of that country or region.
How much time does the protection of the patent last?
Protection is granted for a limited period, usually 20 years from the date of filing. They can usually be extended an additional five years for a fee.
Patents are not merely abstract concepts; they play an invaluable practical role in our everyday life. By rewarding ideas, patents encourage the creation of innovations and new technologies in all fields.
Some interesting patent topics and issues are:
Biotechnology and genes
Deciding who owns certain genes can be a complex and a controversial subject. Patents covering genetic innovations can play a key role in the race to find treatments for diseases such as cancer.
To recover their investments, software developers need protection against unauthorized copying, but the use of patents for this purpose raises some complex issues. How to determine what parts of the software are orignal is just one of these many concerns,
While inventions in the field of nanotechnology could generally be subject to patent protection, this new field is still devloping its methods regarding patent protection.
What is a trademark? A trademark is a sign that allows differentiation between the products or services of one company and those of another. Trademarks are protected intellectual property rights.
How can a trademark be protected?
At a national or regional level, a trademark can be protected by registering it, that is, by filing an application for registration in addition to paying any fees with the national or regional trademark office. At the international level, you will need to file a trademark application in each country separately.
What rights does registration bestow?
In principle, registration benefits the proprietor and the rights of use. In other words, the mark may be used exclusively by the proprietor, or it can be licensed to a third party in exchange for a payment. The registration of a trademark provides legal certainty and strengthens the status of the right-holder if it comes to a dispute between them and a third party.
How long does a brand’s protection last?
The period of validity of the registered trademark may vary, but normally they last ten years. It is usually renewable indefinitely by paying additional fees. Trademark rights are private rights, the protection of which is enforced in the courts.
What types of trademarks can be registered?
Trademarks may consist of a word or a combination of words, letters, and figures. They may also consist of drawings, symbols, three-dimensional characteristics, for example, the packaging and shape of products, invisible signs, such as sounds, fragrances, or color tones used as distinctive characteristics; the possibilities are almost unlimited.
Brand names appear in all the activities of daily life, from a visit to a shopping center to a television program, and are an indispensable tool in today’s business world.
Some interesting topics and issues about trademarks are:
Brands, including service brands, are particularly important in the globalized tourism sector and have a key role in their further development.
Synergies in commerce
For a marketing activity to be successful, it will be necessary for lawyers and marketing agents in the brand field to work in harmony.
When similar or identical brands exist, the signing of coexistence agreements can be a mutually beneficial solution to the problem.
What is industrial design? It simply covers the look of a product or design. The drawing or design of the product can have certain unique features, such as its shape and surface, or other qualities such as motifs, lines, or colors.
What types of products can be protected as industrial designs?
Industrial designs apply to a wide range of industrial and craft products, ranging from technical and medical instruments to watches, jewelry, and other luxury items, from appliances and electrical appliances to vehicles and architectural structures, from textile materials to recreational goods.
Why are industrial designs protected?
Industrial designs make a product attractive to the user visually, in form and sometimes, function. These industrial design choices, therefore, increase the commercial value of the product as well as its sales potential.
The protection of an industrial design helps to increase the return on invested capital. An effective system of protection also benefits consumers and businesses.
These types of protections encourage creativity in the industrial and manufacturing sectors and contribute to the expansion of commercial activity and the promotion of the export of domestic products.
How are industrial designs protected?
In most countries, the design must be registered in order to be protected by the legislation governing industrial designs. Depending on the national legislation concerned, and the type of design, it may also be protected as an unregistered design or as a work of art under copyright.
In some jurisdictions, copyright and design protection are covered under the same rules. In others, they are mutually exclusive: once the holders have opted for one type of protection, they can’t avail themselves of the other.
In certain circumstances, industrial design may also be protected by unfair competition laws, although the conditions of protection and the rights and remedies offered may vary considerably.
In designs, the function binds to the shape. From a table to a phone, industrial design is one of the key elements that make a product attractive, or that leads us to prefer it over another.
What is the Geographical indication?
This term is even new to us here at Invention Therapy. It is often used for products that come from certain parts of the world or city. Their characteristics must be especially valuable because of their origin. There should be an obvious connection between the product and its country of creation.
What are the rights that a geographical indication provides?
In general, the protection of geographical indications is obtained by the acquisition of a right in the sign constituting the indication. This kind of right allows those entitled authorities to forbid a third party from marketing a product that does not comply with the applicable rules. For example, in jurisdictions where the geographical indication Darjeeling is protected, Darjeeling tea producers are obliged to exclude the word “Darjeeling” from their tea which has not been grown on the Darjeeling tea plantations or which has not been produced in accordance with the rules laid down in the Darjeeling code of practice.
France was the first country to legally recognize this form of intellectual property protection in 1919. They protect a product based on geographic origin, like “champagne” from France.
However, even if they are granted with this protecting, that does not entitle its holder to prevent anyone from producing a similar product using the same processes, as long as they comply with the geographical requirements.
Business and trade secrets
What is a business secret? These Business secrets are cataloged as intellectual property rights (IP) on confidential information. It is allowed to sell or grant them under license.
In general, to be considered a trade secret, the information should be:
- It must be valuable commercially.
- Information disclosed to a limited number of individuals.
- Ensured that reasonable measures were taken to keep it secret. (Confidentiality agreements are common in this case).
What kind of information is protected by trade secrets?
Trade secrets can be confidential information that gives business advantages over its competition. This information also must be unknown to people outside the company and can be protected as a trade secret. Trade secrets can include:
- manufacturing methods
- pharmaceutical test data
- software designs
- commercial information
- distribution methods
- list of suppliers
- list of customers
- advertising strategies
The intention of this article is to briefly explain some of the most important types of Intellectual Properties that exist nowadays. It is up to you to decide if any of your inventions need intellectual property protection.
Don’t worry, this page was really just to help keep you more informed. As a first time inventor, it is very unlikely you will need to worry too much about these issues.
Are you ready to become an inventor?
Getting your idea out of your head and into your hands is only the first in a long set of steps towards becoming a successful inventor.