Different Types Of Intellectual Property Rights Information Technology Essay

A Trademark is symbol used to represent a product or service through which it distinguishes itself from other competing products and services. It can be a logo, a shape or some words or even the name of a celebrity. Trademark marks also protect the distinctive components of the marketing identity the product or service has. The trademark can be registered internationally or nationally depending on the availability of product or service. Once the product is registered it can make use of the distinctive symbol ®. If the trademark is registered it’s usually represented with a symbol â„¢. Fraudulent practises in Trademark rights are usually enforced by court proceedings through which damages are collectible. Help from authorities like customs, consumer protection or police will be available in case of counterfeit cases. A trademark gives protection to the owner of the symbol making sure he is the only one who has exclusive right to use it. The protection is usually for a certain period and a sum of money has to be paid for the duration and it can be renewed indefinitely. Trademark rights also help in easy international trade by allowing the company to have its own international recognition and eliminating competitors from using the same trademark.

2. Copyright

“Copyright is the body of laws which grants authors, artists and other creators protection for their literary and artistic creations which are generally referred to as works”(World Intellectual Property organisation, 2010). Original creative works, sound recordings, published editions, broadcasts and films are protected through the system of Copyrights. This system is independent of the recording medium thus buying a copy does not confer the right to copy it. It is to be noted that Limited copying (photocopying, scanning, downloading) without permission is possible, e.g. for research. Special publication of excerpts and quotes need to be acknowledged even if used for researches. Basically, an idea as such cannot be copyrighted, just the way it is expressed can be copyrighted. It does not exist for a slogan title nor phrase, although these may be further registered as a separate trade mark. Copyright mainly applies to the Internet with its web pages protected, so permission should be seeked to copy and print a page, or to even insert a hyperlink onto it. Any material, what so ever, cannot be posted on a Web site, without prior permission from the copyright holder. A Copyright is not registrable as it arises automatically on its creation. In Europe, Copyright is protected for a period of 70 years after the author’s death for most creative works, a span of 50 years for broadcasts, and a time period of 25 years for published editions. The Usage of © is not exactly required in most parts of Europe. Copyright is further enforced by official court proceedings.

3. Patents-

Patents are used when there is a need to protect a brand new process, product and its uses. But to sign a patent, this new product or process has to be in such a way that it hasn’t been invented or something very similar to it hasn’t been in use anywhere else in the world. The new invention should have a specific purpose to be registered as a patent. Patents are usually enforced with court proceedings. The inventor can earn profit from his patents by licensing it to others. “Patents provide incentives for the inventor by recognising his creativity and material reward for their marketable inventions. These incentives encourage innovation, which assures that the quality of human life is continuously enhanced.”(World Intellectual Property Organisation, 2010)

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4. Design Registration-

Design registrations are usually used to protect products which are usually distinguished by unique shape or pattern. These rights are aimed at protecting the visual design of the objects. This designs right contains how the shape is created, layout of colour combinations, pattern composition etc. Here the first most requirement is that the design must be new and to prove this a grace period of one year is given to find out whether some one else is using a similar design. Once the right is received, it lasts for fourteen years. The design is either registered nationally or internationally depending on the use. Design rights can also be protected by copyright.

Reasons to Understand and Protect Intellectual property-

“Ian Cockburn (2008) has brought out five reasons why it is important for companies to understand and protect their Intellectual Property. They are-

Satisfying mandatory Accounting and Reporting “due care” obligations.

Realising the ability to leverage-off assets, which are owned, and not being used.

Better understanding the market and market value of an IP.

Reducing unauthorized use of IP by competitors and copiers and avoiding unauthorised use of other people IP.

Providing the basis for a company culture based on innovation, brand presence and design.”

Three Stages for efficient Intellectual property Management-

In order to manage the intellectual property efficiently, Greg Tyndall has suggested 3 important stages to go through-

1st Stage – Awareness

According to Greg, the biggest challenge faced by firms is that they lack understanding and awareness of what intellectual property they actually have. Basic understanding is the first step a firm should undertake before registering or protecting their property. Greg said “It is this lack of awareness of what constitutes an organisation’s IP that leads to vital information being casually given away with no thought as to its value.” But this mostly happens in the junior level although sometimes it does happen in senior levels. Another important task for the company is to make sure the entire workforce included in the organisation gets a proper idea on what intellectual properties are owned by company. That is manager should make sure that all the employees right from Chairman, Board of Directors to the retail sales force are completely thorough with strategic importance of intellectual property for the firm. The manager can also appoint someone who could report information on Intellectual property audit. Once this is achieved, the manager can move to the next stage that is Protection.

2nd Stage – Protection

After ensuring that all staff members are aware of the intellectual property of the organization, the next big focus is to ensure that all the concentration is given on protecting this valuable asset at all costs. Although the laws related to Intellectual property are complex, it ensures that the owner’s Intellectual Property is protected safely. A simple training programme designed for the staff member will help in making them think about how an organization’s Intellectual property can be protected. This program should include marketing, advertising, accounting, sales, Research and development and any other external consultancies. Having such a wide array of information in the training program will help the firm promote its brand and new technologies. Alternatively making simple checklist can be useful for the receipt of any request for information, as it can be used for longer period toward protecting of Intellectual Property.

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3rd Stage – Maximising the value

After everyone in the organization become aware of what is Intellectual Property, what it is constitutes of and what needs to be done internally and / or legally to protect Intellectual Property, the managers can move onto the final stage that is on deciding how to manage intellectual property. In this stage the manager should make sure all the opportunities arriving at the company is utilised well to maximize the value and it will result in better returns on Intellectual Property rights for the firm. A proper value should be assigned to all the intellectual property owned by the company. The dates for renewal of the property rights should be strictly followed so as to prevent the property to leak out legally. Payments to be received from the licensee and also the royalty fees should be collected as and when the collection date arrives. For example a university which has completed a great deal of research into a particular research area that also has commercial application and value, Shouldn’t be simply given away for free. Each and every item has its own market value and so does Intellectual Property. With the help of brainstorming activity done on the potential opportunities, lot of firms have come up with innovative ways to enhance their value of their Intellectual Property rights and ensure their success throughout.

The Two Approaches to identify Intellectual Property right’s Usefulness-

According to Nathan Schnur (2008), there are basically two approaches that can be used to identify the usefulness of the intellectual property rights-

One of the approach is to decide whether benefits of the patent or intellectual property right outweighs the costs and the second approach is determining whether patent is the right reward for all of the intellectual labour, hard-work and time consumed that was put into the development of the product. When deciding whether the benefits outweigh the costs or not, we are required to consider the possible benefits. Some of the benefits can be advancement of medical research, biotechnology, medical drugs, and other forms of technology. The costs that are incurred are mostly limited to the firm or corporation which is having monopoly of the product they had developed for the duration of the patent, which is normally 17 years. Negative issues that arises about the patent are, a company might hold when that patent is about to expire and the holder of that patent will alter that product enough a new patent to get a new product, by this the patent holder can extend his earlier patent another 17 years. This seems to be a loop hole that the holder of the patent can use to this to their advantage which could possibly hold back further advancement in technology, if a company was waiting to use this particular product that the patent was expiring on.

While considering the second ‘desert’ approach it is important to decide whether the patent is appropriate for labour which has been done during the development process. As mentioned by Nathan, A very good example which helps in considering this approach is the real life case done by Luther Burbank who was a plant breeder. Burbank at first thought that patents were not at all necessary because he believed that satisfying for improving the world was good enough, but finally he changed his belief and mind after he got very less credit for all his advancements in plant breeding. This seems to make right argument that patents and intellectual property rights are the perfect rewards for an individual’s or firm’s hard work and time. From this it can be said the that patents are suitable because the one who puts huge amount of time and money in research and developing a product needs to be rewarded for the reason that other individuals can not steal or copy the patent holder’s idea or product and sell it for their own gain or benefit. This will prove to be very serious disadvantage to the creator of that product and a patent and would shrug off the risk of such disadvantage.

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Actions to be taken by Firms and Intellectual Property holders if they suspect Counterfeiting (MEMA 2010)-

The first and most important step is to report the violations of rights to the manufacturing company as well as suppliers.

Pass the information to enforcement agencies such as Police so that they take immediate action.

Get in touch with a lawyer who is well informed with all the property rights owned by the firm so that he can calculate the counterfeits damage easily.

Take initiative to enforce officials to cease and desist order to make sure the counterfeit practise is stopped with immediate effect.

Passing on the information to enforcing officials like the Customs officer and the border protection officials will help in stopping the counterfeit activity.

To avoid fellow suppliers and manufacturers from facing the same consequence, it is better to coordinate the counterfeit information with the trade association and suppliers so that they can draw a plan of action before their rights get violated.

Conclusion

In the present economy issues regarding Intellectual property rights are coming into the limelight more often than it used to be. But the issues are building up in such a way that it has sparked lots of controversy and business wars. Intellectual property is such a vital part of the firm that if it is not properly managed, will definitely lead to loss of money spend on research and development by the firm. If the firm follows the three stages discussed earlier to manage its intellectual property it can easily avoid investing in extra resources on fighting for its rights. It is also important for the firm to identify the utility value of its intellectual property rather than underestimating an important property with a lower value price tag. One of the most important things the firm should do is to take initiative in informing its customers on different ways to identify counterfeits. When customers are well aware of the counterfeits, they can help the firm fight for its rights. The present economy has gone to such an extent that protecting intellectual rights is a must because of the heavy piracy prevailing in most of the industries notably electronic and entertainment industry. By having a well protected concept in hands, it is always easier for an organization to defend the unique idea from others copying or mimicking it. So it is important for a firm with lots of intellectual property to act now and register its sole usage rights rather than incurring unwanted expenses later on registering your property at an inflated rate as well as fighting an unwanted business war.

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