Just as you may already know, the term intellectual property simply refers to creations of the mind for which monopoly and exclusive rights are assigned. These creations include various literary or artistic work or designs.
What then are Intellectual property (IP) rights?
Intellectual property rights are rights that are given to people over creations of their minds or intellectual works of various forms. These rights also allow IP owners to have full control over the use, transmission, reproducing, selling and performing of their intellectual work.
Some common Intellectual property (IP) examples include jingles, novels, poems, product names, product appearance (e.g. color, shape, patterns, packaging, decorations ), films, architecture, sculpture, plays, computer programs, just to mention a few.
The importance of IP rights cannot be overemphasized. They help inventors and creators to remain motivated and remain committed to the great course of coming up with new and improved creations every time, knowing that their work is protected by relevant laws. IP rights also ensure that that due process is followed whenever anyone tries to use the intellectual works of others in any way.
Just as there are different forms of intellectual property, there are also corresponding rights that back each IP.
What are the various Intellectual property (IP) rights?
The commonest types of IP rights are as follows:
A patent simply refers to the exclusive right issued for an invention – a product that changes or improves the way we do some specific things or one that proffers a new scientific or technological solution to a common problem.
A patent allows patent owners to enjoy some exclusive protection for their products and discoveries. Most patents are meant to be valid for a certain length of time, usually 20 years.
Patent protection simply means that no one can use, transform, and commercially distribute an invention without permission from the owner of the invention. Infringements on parent rights are enforced in the court of law. Conversely, the court can also declare a patent invalid if a third party successfully challenges the invention.
Copyright laws are the laws that allow authors and artists to have the exclusive right to their artistic and literal creations or works. Works that enjoy copyright protection include, but not limited to plays, newspapers, films, photographs, sculpture, computer programs, reference works, musical compositions, drawings, novels, databases, technical drawings, and maps.
Copyright protection is usually obtained automatically without the need for registration, but some countries have regulatory bodies or agencies that oversee the entire process.
Trademark refers to a distinctive sign or mark usually put on a product produced or provided by a company or an individual. The signs are put on the products to emphasize their authenticity, uniqueness, and quality. The concept of a trademark is similar to when ancient artisans put unique signatures on their artworks to make them unique.
The concept of trademark helps consumers in the identification and purchase of any product based on whether its quality and specifications – as represented by its trademark unique trademark – is what they need.
Industrial Design Rights
An Industrial design represents the aesthetic aspect of any article or work. A design may feature two-dimensional features such as lines and patterns or three-dimensional features such as the surface or shape of an article. Industrial design is what makes an article attractive, and also to increase significantly in market value.
When any industrial design is protected, it simply means that the owner (the creator or the person who registered that design) enjoys protection against unauthorized use of the design or any of its elements in any way.
A geographical indication is a mark or sign put on any product that possesses unique qualities as a result of its geographic location. Most times, the name of the place of origin where the product is produced is included in the geographic indication.
A notable example is seen in some agricultural products that possess some unique qualities as a result of the location where they are produced. Some of these unique qualities are induced by some external factors (such as climate and soil) that cannot be easily imitated or reproduced.