Most people comprehend the concept of property. But few really know Intellectual property (IP) and the rights emanating from it. Unlike conventional property, IP is a product of imagination that is more concerned with items of information or knowledge. While IP is very difficult to define or measure, it can still be owned and even stolen. Intellectual property rights are protected with the same zeal as property rights.
A majority of individuals and businesses are ignorant as to what IP can do for them, while others feel that exploiting IP would be too time consuming or expensive. However, appropriate exploitation of your IP could inject substantial value to your business and give you a competitive advantage in negotiations. Meanwhile, it is generating revenue streams.
This article will provide you with an oversight of the various concepts of intellectual property rights. Read more and explore ways in which their protection can help your business!
What Are Intellectual Property Rights?
The term intellectual property denotes ownership rights over a creative work like artistry, literary, music, discoveries and inventions, symbols, designs, and phrases.
Some forms of intellectual property rights include trademarks, copyright, patents, trade dress, industrial design rights, and in some jurisdictions, trade secrets.
What are Copyright, Trademark, and Patent?
These three are the most prevalent types of intellectual property.
- Ideally, owning a copyright entails having the ability to control how your artistic and creative works are copied and distributed. Copyright is not concerned with information or the ideas themselves. It focuses on the manner in which they are expressed over a definitive period.
- On the other hand, patents grant investors the mandate to exclude others from using, making, selling, or importing an invention for a particular time. In exchange, the inventor is required to disclose their invention publicly.
- A trademark denotes a recognizable sign, expression, or design that distinguishes a particular product or service from a certain trader from similar goods or services from other dealers. Trademarks thrive in perpetuity and can help you in establishing your company’s perceived value.
How Can Intellectual Property Rights Help Your Business?
If your business deals in creative works, you could employ copyright to protect yourself from infringement. Similarly, if your company deals in services like ornamental product design, you can count on patent law to protect your inventions. Besides, every business can benefit from trademark law in protecting its brand. Establishing IP protection for your brand names, goods, and services will benefit your business in the following ways.
- Establishing aggregated right and ownership over your intellectual creations, allowing you to profit from them solely. This is achieved by preventing your competitors from copying or otherwise closely imitating your services and products.
- Protecting the distinct identity, reputation, and overall image of your company
- Building consumer trust and loyalty through the establishment of a unique brand name and image
It is imperative that you formally identify and learn to protect your IP assets as an integral part of your strategic planning.
5 Questions You Should Ask on Intellectual Property Rights
1. How Can Copyright Protect My Business?
For copyright law to offer protection, your work must be original. So you must have contributed something more than trivial variations to it. Secondly, the work must be tangible; capable of being perceived, communicated, or reproduced. The person or entity creating the artistic, intellectual, or creative work is perceived as the copyright owner. Therefore, the ownership rights are automatically transferred to the employer for any work created by a worker in the course of employment.
Under the doctrine of work made for hire, no written agreement is required to show that the employer owns the copyright. The copyright owner is allowed exclusive rights over their creation. So they can permit others to use their work. Similarly, a copyright owner is capable of transferring or assigning the rights of ownership to a third party.
2. What Is the Fair Use Doctrine?
This is a doctrine that allows you to use copyrighted materials for the purposes of news, comment, criticism, reporting, scholarship, teaching, and research without necessarily seeking permission from the copyright owner.
However, you must be cautious when using copyrighted material without consent. This is because the owner could initiate a legal suit; you would have to prove fair use beyond reasonable doubt as a defense in court.
3. What Are the Available Types of Patents?
Patents are divided into three categories namely; design, utility, and plant patents.
- The U.S Patent and Trademark Office primarily employs utility patents in protecting new and useful inventive concepts.
- On the other hand, a design patent comes in handy in protecting the aesthetic value of an object.
- Also, plant patents protect new plant varieties that are being reproduced asexually.
4. What If a Person Infringes on Your Intellectual Property Rights?
Most people get confused about what to do when someone infringes on their intellectual property. However, a breach of IP rights could result in the loss of significant sums of money.
If such a thing has happened and you have incurred losses, ensure to seek legal assistance from an experienced patent attorney to get assistance with the process of recovering damages from the culprit. As a cost-effective alternative to a full-blown litigation, you could get an out of court settlement with the infringing party.
5. Are Your Intellectual Property Rights Protected Overseas?
IP laws are more or less similar across borders. But this doesn’t mean that IP certifications will work across countries. A majority of IP registrations, including patents, trademarks, and copyrights are only specific to the country of registration.
Therefore, if your organization is operating on a global level, you will want to get registered for the necessary IP protection in every geographical region your company is operating in.
Sealing It Up
Intellectual property has obvious commercial benefits that could allow you to obtain and a maintain monopoly in a particular area of business. This works effectively for excluding your competitors from the industry. IP can also be used for monitoring the activities of your competitors. For instance, registered designs, published patent applications, and application for registration of a trademark are clear indications of the direction in which a particular business is headed.
The protection of intellectual property rights is an obscure legal concept to many. So it can only be comprehended and applied by specially trained individuals like lawyers. It is, consequently, advisable that you seek legal assistance when faced with an IP issue for appropriate handling of the matter if you intend to get favorable outcomes.