A quick summary on the different types of Intellectual Property rights and whether registrations are required.
Intellectual property is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect, and primarily encompasses copyrights, patents, and trademarks. It also includes other types of rights, such as trade secrets, publicity rights, moral rights, and rights against unfair competition.
The main purpose of intellectual property law is to encourage the creation of a large variety of intellectual goods. To achieve this, the law gives people and businesses property rights to the information and intellectual goods they create – usually for a limited period of time. This gives economic incentive for their creation, because it allows people to profit from the information and intellectual goods they create.
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a recognisable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others, trademarks used to identify services can also be called service marks. A trademark may be located on a package, a label, a voucher, or on the product itself. For the sake of corporate identity, trademarks are often displayed on company buildings.
A patent gives its owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, and importing an invention for a limited period of time, usually twenty years. Patents protect technical innovations. An invention which is new, involves an inventive step and is susceptible of industrial application is patentable if it does not belong to the excluded classes of inventions. The patent system encourages development of new technology by granting a patent for an invention which gives the patent owner the right to exclude others from using the invention in a jurisdiction for a limited period. In exchange, the patent owner is required to make full disclosure of the invention. In some industries patents are an essential form of competitive advantage; in others they are irrelevant.
Copyright is a legal right, existing in many countries, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to determine whether, and under what conditions, this original work may be used by others for a limited time. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. A major limitation on copyright on ideas is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves. Copyright provides protection for recognised categories of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, as well as for sound recordings, films, broadcasts and cable programmes, and works which are made available to the public on the Internet.
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