Intellectual Property (I.P.) is a term used to describe exclusive rights granted to creators and owners of works that are a result of human intellectual creativity. IP rights protect ideas and can take various forms such as an invention, a manuscript, software, or a business brand.
One of the main important objectives of the intellectual property system is to grant the creator of a work certain powers over the exploitation of their work. Among the main justification, being the fact that any unrestricted ability of third parties to make, copy or use a work or invention may deprive the creator of the reward for making the work and take away any incentive for encouraging future innovation.
Objectives of IPR:
For some types of intellectual property rights, the grant of the exclusive right is in return for the creator's 'enabling disclosure' so that the 'know-how' to make or perform the work is publicly available to the general public. For this to be possible, a balance is generally required so as to give reasonable certainty to the general public (for example, to make allowance for acts such as use in private study, research or parody) while awarding the IP creator with a reasonable amount of protection. Most IP rights are thus granted for a limited time, and after expiry, members of the general public are free to make, copy or use the IP.
Some IP rights require registration, for example in the case of an invention, an application for a patent must be filed. Other rights gain protection automatically once the work is created or "fixed" as is the case for copyright in the U.K., where no registration is required.
The importance of intellectual property rights has increased significantly in recent years mainly because of the effects of globalization and the rise of fast-growing Asian economies such that some western businesses have faced numerous problems in tackling cheap counterfeit imports which often undermine their sales and profitability.
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Intellectual Property Rights such as patents, trade marks, copyrights & Registered Designs are intangible assets and can be transferred or licensed like any property right.
Patents, Copyright & Registered Designs have a length of time in which they are valid, whereas Trade Marks & Confidential Information can be valid in perpetuity.
IP rights are jurisdictional, and IP Laws govern how Patents, Trade Marks, Copyright & Designs are administered, in each jurisdiction.
To gain protection, it is often required to have the IP Right registered in the jurisdiction you wish it protected, although some rights don't require registration. There are also some common law rights in certain countries, which offer a measure of protection, and which in some cases may be used to assert your rights, but these may not afford adequate protection in certain circumstances, when compared to registered rights.
If you want to exploit your ideas, then before you disclose your ideas publicly, speak to a Patent / Trade Marks Attorney or IP Lawyer who will advise you of how to obtain protection
Contact us here or alternatively call our Manchester office on 0161 435 6212 to find out how we can help you.