Intellectual Property Rights is a term that covers a variety of different rights which the law grants as Intellectual Property (IP). Some of them need to be registered while others arise automatically under the law. For Example:
- Copyright: arises automatically as long as the work is ‘fixed’ in a permanent form, such as in writing.
- Patents: must be registered, and the invention must not be publicly known before then.
- Trademarks: do not need to be registered, and must not be merely descriptive.
- Designs: some protection arises automatically, but better protection is granted to registered designs.
There are other Intellectual Property rights that the law recognizes, such as trade secrets, and database rights, and other ancillary rights.
What is the purpose of IP rights?
The social purpose of IP is often debated. Essentially the reason the law grants IP rights is to
- Give an incentive to innovate
- Give an incentive to encourage disclosure of innovations so society benefits
- Protect the investment in new technology and creativity
- Prevent unfair competitive practices
It is important for any ambitious business to think about intellectual property at the beginning of any new project of business venture. Making the right decisions in the early stages when choosing names, and commissioning works will pay enormous dividends down the line.
Make sure you have an IP Strategy in place from the outset so as to optimise your business value by implementing your ideas carefully.
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