The three things everyone must know about Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights

Three simple concepts that may change the way you approach IP protection and anyone can benefit from knowing as soon as possible.

Intellectual and Industrial Rights, are rights that are granted by Intellectual and Industrial Property Law, and forms rights on a type of intangible property known as [[Intellectual Property]] which is defined as :

1. A category of intangible rights protecting commercially valuable products of the human intellect. - The category comprises primarily trademark, copyright, and patent rights, but also includes trade-secret rights, publicity rights, moral rights, and rights against unfair competition.
2. A commercially valuable product of human intellect, in a concrete or abstract form, such as a copyright work, a protectable trademark, a patentable invention, or a trade secret. Related: IP Law " (Black’s Law Dictionary)

All that, is to say that by using our intellect and implementing our ideas in an original work, that is then materialized somehow in a form that can be perceived by our senses, constitutes a work of Intellectual or Industrial Property, upon which you enjoy certain rights as provided by IPR laws.

IP Rights protect the works not ideas

As you can see from the definition provided above, there is no mention of ideas, and this is one of the most important misconceptions that most people have about IP, that they think that the ideas must be unique and if they are the same they cannot be used again by someone else. In fact, the IP Law protects the works of the human intellect, that is to say, the product or implementation of ideas and not the ideas in themselves because the same ideas can be implemented in several ways and that is the point of protection, to provide incentives for people to use their intellect and creativity to produce different variations or combinations of ideas to drive creativity and innovation, which in turn drives advancements and improvements which benefit society as a whole.

The emphasis on works here means that it has been more than just an idea, the person must put some effort into developing and implementing that idea, which in turn give it a unique touch, his own signature so to speak, which in turn gives his or her work the originality that differentiates it from another work on the exact same idea. This means that even if the idea is the exact one, every work can be original in implementation and thus be protected.

What it also means is that the ideas do not have to be exceptionally original or unique, they must be the same or similar, but the originality comes from its development and implementation into a final form, which happens only if the person puts some effort into developing and working on these ideas, not just copying or duplicating or reproducing the works of others.

So another aim of the legislation, by granting rights only to works that are original, in the sense that the author of such work has put some effort into producing it, favors them and incentivizes them, while at the same time discourages others that try to use the works of others as their own to benefit from them and gain an unfair advantage.

IP Rights are territorial

What many people fail to understand about IP rights is that they are ***territorial***, which means that, they are protected only in the territory that such protection is sought. Even though there are attempts to have international protection for IP works still there is no automatic application of such protection unless the author chooses to do so and selects in which jurisdictions such protection will extend.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, as there is no need to have international protection, and sometimes it is even not necessary.

First of all, if there was automatic international protection, it would harm consumers, as they would have to wait until such goods or services reached their market, which relies on the will, effort, and even ability of the author to provide them in such a large scale, if at all;

Second, for certain types of IP rights, which are closely related to certain territories, such as for example a trademark, which is property of a local business that has no wide reach, and is closely related to the territory it is located, there is no need to have protection beyond such territory, as it incurs large costs on seeking protection and also is unable to produce or provide enough supply in other territories even if it expanded;

IP rights grant the holder exclusive rights

IP rights very important and attractive to the holder because they grant to the holder or owner exclusive rights:

This means that the holder or the owner of IP rights has the right to use them as he or she wishes, as long as he or she complies with the law and respects the rights of others. But, the most important, is that he or she has the right to exclude others from using such works, without prior permission or authorization from the author, holder, owner of such works.

The right to exclude others means at the same time two things:

First, that the author has the right to benefit financially from the use of such works, by utilizing the right to license or assign another on the condition that he or she is remunerated for their works; or, that they derive financial benefit for charging a price for reproduction and sale of such works;

Second, that the author, owner, or holder of IP works, has to, and at the same time must, enforce their rights because enforcement of IP rights is almost always a private undertaking. This means that they must monitor the market and spot IP rights infringements and respond to such infringements in a short time, because if infringements are allowed then such rights may be diluted and lose their worth, rendering them pointless.

So exclusive rights include these important rights within themselves:

  • The right to reproduce.
  • The right to license or assign
  • The right to be recognized as the author
  • The right to benefit financially

In conclusion, it is important to know that IP rights are rights on IP works not ideas or copies, such rights are territorial in nature, protection is provided in a specific territory or territories specified by the holder, and that they include one of the most important rights, that to exclude others from using such works without prior permission.