Intellectual property rights can be a minefield and whilst it is very important that businesses and individuals have a basic understanding about these laws, they can at times be very complex. With this in mind then we are going to have a look today at why intellectual property rights exist, why they are so important as well as taking a look at what intellectual property rights you need to know about. To help us with this we have consulted with Michael E. Melton, an expert in this field, to find out more.
Why They Exist
To put this in the most basic terms possible intellectual property rights exist in order to prevent the copying or the infringement of someone’s creation of the mind. These laws were brought about in order to protect both businesses from using these creations and to give the creator complete autonomy over what happens with their creations.
Why You Need To Know
There are two main reasons why this is so important for businesses to understand. The first reason is so that you do not unknowingly or knowingly use logos, content, products or anything else that is protected by this law. The second reason why this is so important to understand is because if you do create something unique, you should know what rights you have when it comes to protecting it and preventing anyone else from benefiting.
Let’s have a look at the key intellectual property rights that you need to understand.
Trademarks – These protect logos or symbols which are used to identify a company. Companies create a trademark to let customers know who they are and they cannot be replicated unless consent is given.
Patent – People who invent new items such as products, parts or even mechanisms have the right to apply for a patent which prevents their invention from being used unauthorized.
Copyright – Copyright protects artistic creations such as scripts, books and music. This can often be a grey area given the similarities in many songs for example but wholesale copying is not allowed. Those with copyrights have moral rights over what happens to their work.
Trade Secrets – Companies have exclusive rights to the formulas, strategies, designs, systems, devices and procedures that they have within the business, protecting them from this kind of information being stolen and replicated.
Unfair Competition – This act prevents businesses from actions such as trade defamation, false advertising and infringement of copyrights or trademarks which they may use to give their business an unfair advantage over the competition.
Publicity Rights – This prevents the use of a name or image of a person being used without them consenting to it first. Even likenesses to a person can be challenged in a court of law if a company is using it.
If you have any doubts about the way that your business practices with regards to these laws, you must consult a legal professional.