What are Intellectual Property Rights?

What are Intellectual Property Rights?

Intellectual Property Law is all about the protection of rights granted to the creators and owners of works including brand identity, creations, inventions and Information Technology software. The works can be in industrial, scientific, literary or artistic areas.

Intellectual Property Rights can be embodied within a surprisingly diverse range of items, such as:-

  • brands and logos;
  • artistic works such photographs, music, films, literary pieces, pieces of art and graphic works;
  • databases;
  • coding for computer and other Information Technology programs;
  • scientific and technical processes;
  • the ‘get-up’ of products including their packaging; and
  • confidential information.

Intellectual Property is often misunderstood and is easily overlooked. However, if businesses do not protect their Intellectual Property Rights they will easily fall into the public domain resulting in the potential value in exploiting such items being diminished or lost. However, if the appropriate steps are taken at the correct time then the Intellectual Property Rights can be protected. Look here for more information about trademarks

Due to the fact that Intellectual Property assets cannot be seen or touched, it is often difficult to appreciate their true value. However, a basic understanding of the law and its principles will enable a business to make the most of the mechanisms designed to protect Intellectual Property Rights. Protecting a business’ Intellectual Property is very important for its success. The better a business protects its Intellectual Property, the easier it is to enforce its Intellectual Property Rights. If others try to copy anything that has been protected or use it without permission, this is an act of infringement and appropriate recourse and remedies can be sought.

Some protection afforded through Intellectual Property Rights is granted by the law without a business needing to actively do anything, in other cases a registration process must be followed in order for adequate protection to be afforded. Artistic works, databases and product ‘get-up’ can be protected automatically by certain pieces of legislation. However, other items such as brands and logos, coding for computer programs, processes and confidential information are best protected through Registered Trade Marks, Patents and Confidentiality Agreements, and these require a registration process to be undertaken or a written contract to be agreed.

Once the correct safeguards are in place, it is possible to buy, sell, franchise, license and otherwise exploit Intellectual Property Rights, and to also protect a business against others copying, exploiting, stealing or misusing protected branding, creations and ideas with the law being there in support.

As well as making sure that a business protects its own Intellectual Property, it should just as carefully make sure that it does not infringe a third party’s rights. Like any other form of property, you can buy, sell and license Intellectual Property. If you want to use another’s Intellectual Property, you may be able to negotiate and come to an agreement, which should then be embodied in a formal written contract.