The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) provides this definition for Intellectual Property: Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
The intangible nature of IP distinguishes it from other forms of property, like a house. As an owner, you can build a fence around your property and protect it. However, as an author, what can you do if someone replicates your book and sells it at a lower value?
The purpose of protecting intellectual property is to encourage innovators to continue creating useful intellectual products for consumers. That being said, innovators must first obtain registration in order to protect their ownership of these products and their exclusive rights. And, depending on the type of IP that has been created, there are various ways by which they can be registered.
What are the types of Intellectual Property protection?
There are various forms of IP rights:
· Copyrights: these are the rights given to artistic and literary creations.
· Trademarks: trademarks give exclusive rights to use a particular name or symbol to identify a company, or its products and/or services. Read about the trademark registration basics.
. Industrial Designs: this includes the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article produced by industry or handicraft.
· Geographical Indications: this is a sign mentioned on goods with a specific geographic origin, bearing typical characteristics of their particular place of origin. Find out more about the registration of Geographical Indications in Singapore.
. Confidential Information/Trade Secrets: information that has commercial value and is protected from being shared.
· Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits/Topographies: this refers to the three-dimensional character of elements and their connections on an integrated circuit.·
. Patents: a patent is the result of an inventive process.
Read more about the 4 types of Intellectual Property protection.
How to choose protection for your IP rights?
Simply knowing what is Intellectual Property won’t help. You need to take a closer look at how each type of IP protection can help safeguard different aspects of your invention. Unfortunately, the fact that inventions can be protected using multiple types of IP rights is often ignored.
Let’s take a cocktail as an all-inclusive example. Protection of the name of the cocktail will be granted by a trademark. The shape of the bottle can be protected either as a trademark, copyright, or design. The label could also be protected as a trademark, whereas the recipe could be protected as a patent under some circumstances or as a trade secret. Finally, the owner will own the copyright on the logos, pictures, bottles, marketing documents, and also the ads or jingles. All these elements, if properly protected, cannot be copied without the owner’s permission.
It is therefore important to analyse which aspects of the invention or of the products you intend to protect, to determine the best filing strategy. No single type of Intellectual Property protection can give a company sufficient protection for all the aspects of its intangible assets. However, when properly combining the various Intellectual Property rights, a company can effectively protect itself against competitors and infringers, which is the key to business competitiveness and sustainability.
At IPHub Asia, we can help you manage your trademark and design portfolio and file timely renewal applications to maintain your IP rights. If you require some assistance in this connection or have questions regarding what is Intellectual Property and what you can do to protect your intangible business assets, please get in touch.
You can also visit our website to know more about our services.