What is Intellectual Property and How to Effectively Protect It?
Intellectual Property Definition
Intellectual property is defined as intellectual work that lawfully belongs to its creator or rights holder. Examples include written and literary works, art, photography, design, name (of products or brands), inventions, etc. Intellectual property can be acquired automatically, for example by writing a song but it can also be acquired by registration, that is by applying for a patent, product name, logo, etc. There is, however, another way to become intellectual property owner - purchasing the IP rights from the creator or past owner.
Types of Intellectual Property
There are several types of intellectual property. The main ones include:
- Copyright (written and literary works, web content, film, music, artworks, photography)
- Design right (object/product shape)
- Trade mark (product/brand name, logo, jingle)
- Patent (inventions, discoveries)
Registered designs (product appearance including colour, shape, pattern)
- Types of Intellectual Property Protection
Intellectual property is either protected automatically or through application for registration. Types of automatic protection of intellectual property include copyright and design right. Trade marks, patents and registered designs, on the other hand, are granted protection only after the application for registration has been approved.
How to Protect Your Intellectual Property?
To prevent your intellectual property being stolen or used/sold by a third party, make sure you have the right type of protection and keep in mind that you need to apply for some types (see Types of Intellectual Property Protection). If someone uses, sells or distributes your intellectual property anyway, you can take the following measures:
- Contact the other party and ask them to stop using, selling or distributing your intellectual property otherwise you will be forced to take legal action against them.
- Hire a mediator/arbiter. In addition to being faster, this is also a lot cheaper way to resolve a dispute over intellectual property infringement than by going to court.
- File a lawsuit. If none of the above mentioned measures works and the other party continues to use, sell or distribute your intellectual property without your permission, you have no other choice than to file a lawsuit and settle things in court.