is an expert when it comes to intellectual property rights and because of that we are very thankful that he took the time to contribute to this piece. For business owners all over the world the theme of intellectual property rights is one that is very important. Whilst nobody is suggesting that you become fluent in this aspect of the law, it is worth noting that you should have a basic understanding of intellectual property rights when doing business. To understand more about what these rights are, why they are important and why they are in place, Michael gives us the low down.
Why They Are In Place
These laws were passed in order to protect creators from other people or businesses from benefitting from their work. They are in place to prevent businesses or individuals from using something which they have not created, from gaining money, fame or success off the back of it.
Types of Protection
Let’s have a look at some of the acts which have been passed in relation to intellectual property.
Copyright – Protects artistic work such as scripts, music, architectural drawings, written code or software. Essentially protecting the way in which an idea is expressed.
Trademark – Trademark refers to symbols, logos or signs which are used to identify a company, a perfect example would be the roaring MGM lion which you see before a movie, nobody else can use this.
Patent – A patent is filed on a newly invented product, part or idea and give sole responsibility to the inventor when it comes to their invention being used by others.
Unfair Competition – Seeks to prevent a company from gaining an advantage by using tactics such as false advertising, trade defamation or misappropriation of an image or name.
Trade Secrets – Any information within a business relating to formulas, strategies, devices or procedures cannot be used by another unless it is an original idea, essentially covering the theft of such information.
Moral Rights – This is used to refer to anyone who is the owner of a copyright or trademark, giving them the rights to decide what to do with their creation.
Publicity Rights – Often called personality rights these protect a person from their image or personality being used without their authority.
The reason as to why you need to know about these laws as a business owner is because it can be very easy to fall foul of the law. Of course things like false advertising or trade defamation are very intentional but creating a logo which is very similar to another’s or using a slogan which has already been thought up can easily happen by accident and could land your business in trouble.
Punishments for infringing copyrights, patents and trademarks can range from a light warning to something more sever for your business so you must ensure that you stay on the right side of the law in this regard.