Man has been bestowed with the wonderful gift called brain and the ability to think. With his imagination and creativity, he is capable of utilizing the natural resources for his comfort and needs. As the commercial aspect started playing a role in these creations the importance and value of his creations was realized and thus came the need to reward the creator or innovator by suitable legal protection for his intellectual creation. Intellectual property pertains to any original creations of human intellect such as artistic, literary, technical or scientific creation. The main motive of its protection is to encourage and reward creativity and create a wide variety of intellectual goods. Intellectual property rights allow their owner to completely benefit from his/her work, labor, and investment by preventing others from using, dealing or tampering with his/her product without prior permission from the owner.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS:
There are various types of intellectual property protections available for intellectual creation namely:
PATENTS: A patent is a title for an invention which grants the exclusive rights to the inventor to prevent others from making, selling or using the invention for a period of time. The patent system has been designed to encourage inventions that are useful and unique to society.
To receive a patent, the patent application must satisfy the following criteria.
1. The innovation is patentable subject matter.
2. The innovation is new (called ‘novelty’)
3. The innovation is inventive.
4. The innovation is useful (called ‘utility’).
5. The innovation must not have prior use.
Generally, the term of a new patent is for 20 years from the date on which the application for patent was filled.
IMPORTANCE OF PATENTS:
Filling a patent gives you the inventor a legal monopoly on manufacturing, selling or copying or using their creation. If anyone tries to use it, they will be liable to legal action in the form of patent infringement.
The applicant gets the security that no other person or company could claim the ideas similar to his invention, as soon he files the provisional patent application. If another entity tris to file the same invention, then the patent office rejects their request.
Patent rights enable the inventor to go for public disclosure which helps in building his portfolio and increase the company’s funds, business partners and market value. It benefits the owner by attracting high-end and leading investors, shareholders and consumers.
An active patent plan can help in generating a lot of revenue by licensing the patent. Many inventors and patent owners enjoy a huge advantage of bringing the invention to the commercial market and obtain higher results on investment.
COPYRIGHT: Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original work of authorship” which seeks to protect the original, creative, and literary works. The copyright act provides the owner the exclusive right to publish, reproduce or sell a particular artistic work. But it’s to be remembered that a thought in itself can’t be copyrighted. For an original work to be copyrighted it must be in tangible form. It is the expression of an idea that can be copyrighted. This means that any speech, idea, thought has to be written down in physical form in order to be protected by copyright.
Works commonly protected under copyright throughout the world include:
1. Literary works such as novels, poems, plays, speeches, newspaper articles;
2. Computer programs, databases;
3. Films, musical compositions, and choreography;
4. Artistic works such as paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculpture;
5. Advertisements, maps and technical drawing
IMPORTANCE OF COPYRIGHT:
Copyright registration provides a legal evidence of the work by legally denoting it to be yours. It enables the holders to take legal action against infringers in a court.
Copyright protection is an essential component of fostering human creativity and innovation. Giving authors and creators incentives in the form of economic reward and recognition provides important motivation and also enhances results. Without copyright protection, it might be easy for others to take advantage of these works without paying any royalties or compensation to the owner of the work. Copyright protection enables creators to be rewarded and reap economic benefits from their venture.
A copyright owner can also benefit from copyright by selling, using, distributing, or passing on the rights of the work to the other person.
Another advantage of copyright protection is that it gives the holder that a certain work belongs to him or her.
TRADEMARK: A trademark can be explained as a unique indicator, symbol, design, word, signature legally registered or established to distinguishes a product or service from its competitors. Trademarks are often used either by a private firm or business entity. Trademark registration is the quickest and most cost-effective way to ensure legal exclusivity for the use of your name or logo.
IMPORTANCE OF TRADEMARK:
Upon trademark registration, trademarks are classified as intellectual property and are therefore shielded from infringement. The owner of the trademark enjoys exclusive rights over the trademark.
Trademark registrations are distinct to the products or services they represent. Trademarks enable differentiation of your product against the product of your competitors. Customers uniquely identify products carrying different trademarks, thus creating a base for your product.
Registration of trademark creates an intangible asset and carries a value associated with the product they represent. Trademarks are often sold, franchised, assigned, or commercially exploited in any other manner.
The established quality of products and services are known by everyone through their trademark, which establishes trust and goodwill among the purchasers within the market and helps in creating loyal customers.
TRADE SECRETS: Trade secret is the branch that governs confidential information of commercial value. It is an invention, process, discovery, formula or recipe that is exclusive to a particular individual or corporation and gives the company an economic advantage over its competitors. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) defines a trade secret as “information having a commercial value, which is not in the generally known or easily discoverable by observation, and that reasonable steps have been taken to maintain its secrecy”.
The Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) lays down three essential conditions which needs to be fulfilled by any information before it can be considered a trade secret. They are:
· The information must be secret in a sense that it is not generally known or readily accessible to “persons within the circles that normally deal with the kind of information in question”
· It must have a commercial value because it is secret and,
· It must have been subjected to reasonable steps by its owners to keep it a secret.
IMPORTANCE OF TRADE SECRETS:
Maintaining the secrecy and security of trade secrets are often a crucial component of a thriving business. If the trade secrets of one company are found by another competitive business, it could result in loss of market share and dominance.
The factor that has enhanced the value of trade secrets is the relative ease of creating and controlling trade secrets as they are protected without registration. They have the advantage of lasting forever, as long as secrecy is maintained.
WHY ARE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IMPORTANT?
Intellectual property protection is critical to fostering innovation. Without, protection of ideas, businesses and individuals would not reap the complete advantage of their inventions. Similarly, artists would not be compensated or rewarded for his or her creations. IP rights encourage innovation and reward entrepreneurs.
Ideas on their own have little or no value. IP has the potential to turn these ideas into commercially successful goods and services. At the same time giving exclusive rights to the creator for his product or invention so that they are not illegally infringed by the third party.
IP helps in creating a unique identity for the business by differentiation goods and services of one company from the other. This helps in creating a brand value that promotes and attracts customers.
Strong IP rights help consumers in making an informed choice about the security and effectiveness of their purchase. It ensures products are authentic, and of high-quality that buyers recognize and expect.
IP-driven discoveries help generate breakthrough solutions to global challenges. Innovative agricultural companies are helping the farmers create new products to assist farmers produce more and better products as a response to the world’s hunger and also reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. Intellectual property protection is important for the success of biotechnology companies where the patent system serves as an encouragement for developing new medicines and diagnostics for treatments and monitoring diseases.
A person can monetize the IP assets and generate revenue through sale, franchising or licensing and the IP registrations are also very useful to apply for state or public funding.
The protection of IP rights is vital for the economy and for its further growth in areas like research, innovation and employment. It creates and supports high paying jobs.
The Intellectual property of a corporation is indispensable to develop and maintain a successful business. Companies of all sizes are at risk of having their unique ideas, products or services infringed upon, making intellectual property rights more important than ever. For a small business, it is very important to guard any unique product or services as the competitors can take away market share, leading to slow growth and loss of revenue.