Q & A
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property are the creations of the human mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names and images, used in the trading. Intellectual property is divided into two parts:
Industrial property that includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographical indications of origin.
Copyright that includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poetry and plays, movies, musical works; works of art such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, as well as architectural works. Related rights include the performers’ rights on their performances, the rights of phonogram producers and film producers on their recordings and films, as well as the rights of radio and television organizations on their radio and television programs.
Why is assistance needed for the intellectual property development and protection?
There are several incontestable reasons for this. First of all, human progress and well-being depend on its ability to create new technical inventions and cultural values. Secondly, the legal protection of these new inventions and values ??helps to attract additional resources that bring a further development of innovation activity with them. Thirdly, promoting the development and protection of intellectual property contributes to the economic growth, creates new jobs and new industries, improves the quality of human life and the satisfaction of it.
What are the advantages of the intellectual property rights for the ordinary person?
Intellectual property rights reward the person for the creativity and curiosity that in turn feed on the development of humanity. Here's a few examples:
- studies show that without the existence of patent protection, which allows research to be funded at the expense of future income, about two thirds of all modern medicines would not be created;
- many billion industries such as cinematography, phonogram production, printing and the software that provide the pleasure to millions of people in all parts of the world would not exist without the protection of copyright;
- without the credible protection of international trade marks and the protection of consumers' rights against counterfeit goods and piracy, consumers themselves could not confidently buy products or service.
What is a patent?
The patent is the exclusive right granted to the patent owner for a patent-pending invention. In other words, the patent grants exclusive rights for a product or method that usually provides a new way of doing something or proposes a new technical solution to a task. In order to obtain a patent, the technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application.
The patent owner may grant permission or license to others to use the invention under mutually agreed terms. The patent owner may also sell the right to the invention to a third person who will then become his new owner. After expiration of the term of patent protection, its effect is terminated and the invention becomes public; this means that anyone can use it for commercial purposes without violating patent rights.
What rights does a patent provide?
A patent owner has the right to decide who may – or may not – use the patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected. In other words, patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed, imported, or sold by others without the patent owner's consent.
Why are patents useful (to society, business, individuals etc.)?
Patented inventions have, in fact, pervaded every aspect of human life, from electric lighting (patents held by Edison and Swan) and plastic (patents held by Baekeland), to ballpoint pens (patents held by Biro), and microprocessors (patents held by Intel, for example).
Patents provide incentives to and protection for individuals by offering them recognition for their creativity and the possibility of material reward for their inventions. At the same time, the obligatory publication of patents and patent applications facilitates the mutually-beneficial spread of new knowledge and accelerates innovation activities by, for example, avoiding the necessity to “re-invent the wheel”.
Once knowledge is publicly available, by its nature, it can be used simultaneously by an unlimited number of persons. While this is, without doubt, perfectly acceptable for public information, it causes a dilemma for the commercialization of technical knowledge. In the absence of protection of such knowledge, “free-riders” could easily use technical knowledge embedded in inventions without any recognition of the creativity of the inventor or contribution to the investments made by the inventor. As a consequence, inventors would naturally be discouraged to bring new inventions to the market, and tend to keep their commercially valuable inventions secret. A patent system intends to correct such under-provision of innovative activities by providing innovators with limited exclusive rights, thereby giving the innovators the possibility to receive appropriate returns on their innovative activities.
In a wider sense, the public disclosure of the technical knowledge in the patent, and the exclusive right granted by the patent, provide incentives for competitors to search for alternative solutions and to “invent around” the first invention. These incentives and the dissemination of knowledge about new inventions encourage further innovation, which assures that the quality of human life and the well-being of society is continuously enhanced.
What is a utility model?
Similar to patents, utility models protect new technical inventions through granting a limited exclusive right to prevent others from commercially exploiting the protected inventions without consents of the right holders. In order to obtain protection, an application must be filed, and a utility model must be granted. They are sometimes referred to as “short-term patents”, “utility innovations” or “innovation patents”. It is not easy to define a utility model, as it varies from one country to another. In general, utility models are considered particularly suited for protecting inventions that make small improvements to, and adaptations of, existing products or that have a short commercial life. Utility model systems are often used by local inventors.
What kind of protection does a utility model offer?
An owner of a utility model obtains the exclusive right to prevent or stop others from commercially exploiting the utility model for a limited period, often 6 to 10 years from the filing date. In other words, in general, utility model protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed, imported or sold by others without the utility model owner's consent. The above right is territorial, i.e. the right can be enforced only within the country in which a utility model is granted.
What are the main differences between utility models and patents?
The main differences between utility models and patents are the following:
- The requirements for acquiring utility models are less stringent than for patents. While the requirement of “novelty” is always to be met, albeit some countries only on a local level, that of “inventive step” or “non-obviousness” may be lower or absent altogether. In practice, protection for utility models is often sought for innovations of a rather incremental character which may not meet the patentability criteria.
- The term of protection for utility models is shorter than for patents, and varies from country to country (usually between 6 and 15 years).
- In most countries, patent offices do not examine utility model applications as to substance prior to registration. This means that the registration process is often simpler and faster, sometimes taking six months or less.
- Fees for obtaining and maintaining utility models are cheaper.
- In some countries, utility model protection can only be obtained for certain fields of technology, such as mechanical devices and apparatus, and only for products but not for processes.
What is an industrial design?
Industrial design is an ornamental (or decorative) or aesthetic aspect of the product. The design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of the product, or two-dimensional features such as patterns, lines or color.
Industrial designs apply to a wide variety of industrial and craft products: from technical and medical instruments to watches, jewelery and other luxury items; from household appliances and electrical appliances to vehicles and architectural structures; from textile designs to leisure goods.
In order to be protected under most national laws, industrial design must be attractive to the eye. This means that the industrial design mainly relates to the aesthetic character and does not protect any technical characteristics of the product to which it is applied.
How can industrial designs be protected?
In most countries, an industrial design needs to be registered in order to be protected under industrial design law. As a general rule, in order to obtain a registration, the design must be "new" or "original". Individual countries have different definitions of these criteria as well as differences in the registration procedure. In general, "new" means that at present it is not known to have another identical or very similar design anywhere in the world. Once the design is registered, a registration certificate is issued. The design protection period is usually 5 years (as of the filing date), renewable for several consecutive periods, or in most cases the maximum protection period is 15 years.
Depending on the relevant national legislation and the type of design, industrial design may also be protected as a work of art under copyright law. In some countries there is a simultaneous design protection - both under the industrial design law and through copyright law. In other countries this possibility is mutually exclusive. Once the holder has chosen one type of protection, he can no longer refer to another type.
Under certain circumstances, a design may also be protected under the law on the protection of unfair competition, although the terms of protection and guaranteed rights and remedies may be significantly different.
Why to protect industrial designs?
Industrial designs are what make the products look attractive and appealing; therefore, they add commercial value to the product and increase its marketability (market realizability).
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a distinctive name identifying certain goods or services produced or provided by a particular person or enterprise. The origin of the tardemark dates from the distant past when craftsmen reproduce their signatures or "signs" on their artistic or consumer products that they have created. Over time, these signs gradually become part of the modern system of registration and trademark protection. The system helps consumers identify and buy products or services which origin and quality are certified by a distinctive brand best fit their needs.
What is the trademark registration procedure?
Firstly, an application for trademark registration is filed with the relevant national or regional office. The application must contain a clear image of the mark the registration of which is required, including clear reproduction of color, shape or three-dimensional elements. The application must indicate the list of goods or services for which protection of the mark is sought. In order to obtain protection as a trademark or other mark, the trademark itself must meet certain conditions. It should have a distinctive function so that consumers can recognize it as intrinsic to certain products and at the same time not confuse it with other brands that identify other products. The trademark must not contain false or misleading information or be contrary to public policy or morals.
In addition, the requested rights cannot fully or partially coincide with the rights already granted to the owner of another trademark. This is established by examination and expertise of trademarks carried out by national offices or by consideration of objections raised by third parties claiming identical or similar rights.
What is the territory of trademark protection?
Almost all countries in the world register and provide trademark protection. Each national or regional office has a trademark register that contains comprehensive information on all registration and renewal applications, which facilitates the carrying out of expertise and surveys as well as the actions of third parties regarding possible objections. However, the effect of such registration is limited to the territory of the country in which it was made (and, in the case of regional registration, to the territories of the countries concerned).
In order to avoid the need for registration in every national or regional office, WIPO fulfills the administrative functions of the system of international trade mark registration. This system is regulated by two treaties: the Madrid Agreement on the International Registration of Marks and the Madrid Protocol. A linked person (ie, nationality, place of permanent residence or real enterprise) with one of the States Parties to one or both of the aforementioned two contracts, on the basis of an application or registration obtained in one of the national offices of such a state may obtain an international registration recognized as valid in some or all other States of the Madrid union. More than 60 countries currently participate in one or both the agreements.
What is copyright?
Copyright is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works.
What can be protected using copyright?
Works protected by copyright are literary works such as novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspaper articles; computer programs, databases; films, musical compositions, and choreography; artistic works such as paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculpture; architecture; and advertisements, maps, and technical drawings.
Copyright protection extends only to expressions, and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such. Copyright may or may not be available for a number of objects such as titles, slogans, or logos, depending on whether they contain sufficient authorship.
What rights does copyright give?
Authors of copyrighted works and their heirs are granted some fundamental rights. They are the holders of the exclusive right to use the work and the right to grant the right to use the work to third parties under negotiated terms. The copyright owner of a work can prohibit or authorize:
- its reproduction in various forms, such as printed publication or sound recording;
- its public performance, such as in a play or musical work;
- its recording, for example, in the form of compact discs or DVDs.
What are related rights?
Over the last 50 years there has been a rapid development of the area of related rights. Related rights are formed around works protected by copyright and provide similar protection, but often more limited in terms of volume and duration:
- performers (actors and musicians) have related rights over their performing;
- phonogram producers and film producers have related rights over their phonograms and films;
- radio and television programs have related rights over their radio and television programs.
Why is copyright protection necessary?
Copyright and related rights are necessary conditions for the development of creativity by providing the authors with an incentive in the form of recognition and fair material reward. This system of rights protection provides authors with a guarantee of distribution of their works without fear of illegal copying or piracy.
And this, in turn, provides more free access to cultural values, knowledge and entertainment for the world's population, and also guarantees their higher quality.