Intellectual property rights are something which every business owner should be aware of and whilst there is no need to become an expert on this subject, one must understand the importance of it. Intellectual property rights are something which have been put in place to offer protection to the creators of artistic work and inventions to ensure that they are the only people who benefit from their creations. To help you to better understand what the main types of intellectual property are, we spoke to the guys at to detail them for you.
A patent is used to protect ideas, inventions or processes from being reproduced by others who may or may not wish to benefit from them. For someone that has created something original they can apply for a patent and then they will need to wait in order to see whether or not it has been approved. In some cases the patent may simply be a particular mechanism within a new product, rather than the actual product itself. If you ever create something you should always ensure that it hasn’t already been patented.
A trademark protects words, symbols, sounds, smells, phrases and even color schemes from being copied. These are often thought of in terms of assets which a company will use in order to identify who they are and what they do. A perfect example of this would be a phrase or slogan that a company uses as part of their brand image, these will have trademarks on them and you or anyone else will not be able to use the same phrase.
The phrasing that is often used around copyrighted materials is that it is not the idea which is protected but the way in which the idea is expressed. This includes creative work such as film scripts, music, architectural drawings and in some cases written code for software. Copyrighting ensures that the creator of the work has complete control over the rights of the piece and how it is used, distributed or reproduced.
Trade secrets refer to the formulas, strategies, devices, systems or any other form of information which is exclusive to a particular company. These ideas and formulas are protected by the trade secrets act and they basically serve to protect businesses from other companies stealing their ideas.
Within these acts there are also some additional intellectual property rights which must be observed.
Moral Rights – This is often used to speak about the rights that owners of copyrighted materials have over its use and distribution.
Unfair Competition – This act prevents businesses from malpractice such as false advertising, trade defamation and the misappropriation of a likeness or a name.
Publicity Rights – Also referred to as personality rights, this protects people against their image or personality being commercially exploited.
If you are in any doubt about these rights in terms of your business, you should seek legal assistance.