Any product borne out of a person’s imagination whether an invention, literary or artistic work and symbols, images or names used by a commercial organization, is classified as intellectual property. These creations have the potential to provide long term benefits to the rightful owner and in order to ensure this, it becomes necessary to know about intellectual property protection and the legal tools available for the purpose.
Importance Of Intellectual Property Protection
An individual or an enterprise invests significant amount of time, money and other resources in order to create such an asset and if no appropriate steps are taken to establish its proprietorship, it can be easily stolen or misappropriated resulting in considerable loss to the rightful owner. It can be hugely detrimental for any organization especially if the fabricated product had the potential to generate great amount of revenue. Taking such steps is also important to build up the credibility and dependability of a company in the eyes of the target audience as the tag of a trademark or copyright accompanying an asset communicates the uniqueness of the product as well as the creativity and inventiveness of the person or company responsible for its creation. Safeguarding your intangible assets also keeps you ahead of your competitors as they will be prohibited by the law from providing any service similar to yours which translates into a dedicated customer base for your offering.
Methods To Protect Intellectual Property
The methods employed for the protection of intellectual property may differ from country to country but the following three instruments are available for users in almost every part of the world:
Patents can be termed as exclusive rights granted to an inventor for a creation, so that no one else can make, use or sell the invention for the time period for which it is valid. Any process, machinery or improvement made to an already existing procedure or tool can be safeguarded by these instruments but it must be proved before the relevant authority that the object for which patent has been applied for is unique, new and useful. This method is also applied for establishing ownership of designs whether ornamental or of any manufactured product. These rights are generally issued to individuals responsible for the invention but it is commonly seen that many people assign their creations to the organizations they are employed with. Organizations must sign an appropriate agreement with the individual before moving the application for patents in order to prevent any legal issues in the future. The protection provided by this method is usually for a fixed period of time after which it must be renewed otherwise the asset will be available for everybody to use. Patents are vital for a lot of industries like pharmaceuticals which require huge economic investments over a long period of time for making a product. The application procedure for these rights are complicated and engaging intellectual property lawyers for the purpose will be a sensible decision.
These are tools provided by the government for protecting a brand name which can be a symbol, design word or term that distinguishes the product from other items of its category. It is essential for preventing any confusion and establishing the uniqueness of an item in its business domain. Trademarks are valuable for entrepreneurs as they are effective tools for branding and can be helpful in marketing the product. The icon chosen must be distinctive with no similar terms or design in existence at the time of application and therefore a trademark search must be conducted before registration. The applicant must also mention the class to which the product or service belongs to, as the absolute rights for the mark will be granted for use in that category only. These are time bound rights and an owner must be careful to renew them before the expiry date in order for their continued enjoyment. The costs involved for applying are not significant but professional help is necessary as the steps like trademark searches require expertise for the successful completion of the procedure.
Not only entrepreneurs but creative professionals like artists, musicians, photographers etc. also need to know about intellectual property rights and the importance they hold for the health of their personal finances. Copyrights protect the ownership rights of professionals for any literary, artistic, dramatic, musical, choreographic and architectural creation and also for computer software. In order to secure these rights, the author must put the creative thoughts on a material medium like a software code on a sheet of paper. Once granted, the holder can distribute, display, perform or copy the work and in most cases of infringement is eligible for compensation, if the transgression is proved. The term of a copyright is for the whole duration of an author’s lifetime plus an extra 70 years.
It is essential to know about intellectual property rights and the relevant laws framed for their protection as such assets are extremely valuable and can be instrumental in generating good profits for a long period of time.
Amy Jones has been serving as an experienced legal expert in Ahlawat & Associates, who is related to Dispute Resolution Firms. She is a passionate writer and always on the lookout for opportunities for sharing her knowledge with legal community. Follow her company on various social media networks like: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.