What is Intellectual Property?
Unlike the products they protect, intellectual assets cannot be seen or touched. So, it can be difficult for businesses to appreciate their true value. Like other forms of property, you can buy, sell and license. Rights can enable their owner to take action under civil law to try and stop others from replicating, using, importing or selling their products protected by IP rights.
There are a lot of different types of intellectual property rights (IPR). Starting from patents, trade marks, or designs, and ending in such rights as personal data, name of juridical entity, geographical indication.
But most commonly, when we talk about the intellectual property we talk about:
Patents – they protect new inventions and cover how products work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made.
Trade marks – that protect brands name. Trade mark can be a business name, a product or a service. The trade mark could be made up of words, logos or a combination of both. It can also be a combination of colors, sound, position mark, 3D mark or action mark.
Design – that protects the overall visual appearance of a product, the look of the product.
Copyright – that protects literature, artistic works, architecture, photographs, music, dramatic works, software, databases, films, radio and television broadcasts, sound recordings and published editions. Even dancing moves can be copyright protected!
These intellectual property rights are all different. They protect different object – while patent protect the FUNCTIONING of the product, design protects the LOOK of it, and the trade mark the NAME you put on the product. The different requirements are established by law to grant these rights – a patented invention must be novel, design must be new, copyright object must be original, trade mark must be distinctive… Some of them are protected only if registered by the state authorities (such as patents or designs), while other are granted automatically when created (such as copyrights). But why all of them a called Intellectual rights?
The common element of all these rights is that they are not tangible. They are “attached” to the product, the object you have created, and are inseparable from it. However, without such rights being established, the product is ripped-off protection – which means any other manufacturer can make the same goods, use the same technology and put the same brand name on their own product. IPR can create the value no less significant than the tangible assets. If used well, it can offer a platform for any business to grow. You should plan, manage and protect your ideas. What seems unimportant today could be worth millions in the future.