Find out how ideas of all shapes and forms can be protected around the world
Ideas are the currency for inventions, aimed at making a difference and making lives easy. However, in a world with decreasing virtual borders, it is imperative that ideas and inventions are protected. Imagine if your life-altering idea was copied by someone – they took credit for it and made it their money-maker? Thankfully, the governments across the worlds agree that a new invention can and should be protected. This is the primary concept behind the term intellectual property and several laws identifying and protecting intellectual property came into existence. Read on to find out more about what is intellectual property, IP rights and the major types of protections available to it.
What constitutes Intellectual Property?
Intellectual Property (IP), essentially refers to creations of the mind that come with moral as well as commercial values e.g. an original idea or concept developed by an inventor, an employee, an entrepreneur, a businessman etc. It is a collective term for all assets and aspects of a business that are thought of by the business owner or his/her employees. They differentiate a company from its competition, especially the breakthroughs and inventions that one comes up with, using their intellect – their brain to support the business and earn revenue. IP includes but is not limited to inventions, products, work processes, books, logos, photos, songs and music, games, films, illustrations, scholarly articles, blogs, vlogs and other such content, photos, business names etc.
Does Intellectual Property have rights?
IP includes a lot of intangible assets and abstract concepts, that merit protection. The owners and creators of these assets must be empowered to invent without the fear of the competition stealing their ideas.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) refer to the rights owned by an individual or a company to exclusively use their own ideas, plans and other intangible assets, without worrying that the competition will use it to their benefit. These rights allow the creator/inventor of the idea to patent their invention, or get copyrights or patent trademarks and protect their trade secrets, so that they cannot be utilized by another company. The creator/inventor of an IP has the right to enforce IP rights by filing a lawsuit, if a competitor violates his/her IP rights.
Intellectual Property Protection
Now that we know what is meant by intellectual property rights, let us take a look at the four types of protections available for IP. They are as under:
- Copyright: Copyright IP protection is typically provided to authors and creators for their literary and artistic work. It is also given to individuals creating special designs and various types of content.
- Trademark: You can apply for trademark protection for the creation of original words or a combination of words (such as a brand name and tag line) and designs created to represent your invention. Any invention you trademark should have the TM symbol at the end of the word to indicate that you have claimed trademark protection. TM is followed by the symbol ® implying that the trademark is registered.
- Patent: Patent protection gives the inventor/creator exclusive control over using their idea e.g. creators of industrial designs. Depending upon the product created, product and process inventors can apply for utility patent, design patent and plant patent.
- Trade Secret: When you design special formulas, techniques or programs, you can file for a trade secret patent, curtailing it’s availability and protecting your formula. Coca-Cola’s secret formula is the best example of a global trade secret patent.
While intellectual property is generally regarded as an intangible asset, it often serves as the most essential contributor to a business’ success than most other tangible ones. While we speak of intellectual property, rights and protection, there is another question that comes to mind – what is intellectual property law? We talk about it in detail, subsequently.
Want to understand the role of Intellectual Property Rights? See this short video to know more.