Intellectual Property Matters

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) such as patents, trade marks and designs are a key driver for innovation and creativity. They enable authors, artists, designers, inventors and other creators to benefit when others use their creations and inventions. Companies that own IPRs perform better in economic terms; they have more employees, pay higher salaries and generate more revenue per employee. They also have more opportunities to export their products.

There are 4 types of Intellectual Property rights:
Trade Secrets, which are for the purpose of protecting secret information. A trade secret is a formula, process, device, or other business information that companies keep private to give them a business advantage over their competitors.Unlike the other types of intellectual property, you can’t obtain protection by registering your trade secret. Instead, protection lasts only as long as you take the necessary steps to control disclosure and use of the information. Businesses use nondisclosure agreements, restricted access to confidential information, post-employment restrictive covenants, and other security practices to maintain trade secrets.

Trademarks, which are a word, phrase, symbol, or design that distinguishes the source of products (trademarks) or services (service marks) of one business from its competitors. In order to qualify for patent protection, the mark must be distinctive. For example, the Nike “swoosh” design identifies athletic footware made by Nike.
Patents, A patent grants property rights on an invention, allowing the patent holder to exclude others from making, selling, or using the invention. Inventions allow many businesses to be successful because they develop new or better processes or products that offer competitive advantage on the marketplace.

Copyrights, Copyrights protect original works of authorship, such as literary works, music, dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, sculptural, pictorial, and graphic works, sound recordings, artistic works, architectural works, and computer software. With copyright protection, the holder has the exclusive rights to modify, distribute, perform, create, display, and copy the work.

In order to qualify under copyright laws, the work must be fixed in a tangible medium of expression, such as words on a piece of paper or music notes written on a sheet. A copyright exists from the moment the work gets created, so registration is voluntary.