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Get Your IP Straight Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Liz Livelli, United States Sep 26, 2005
Technology   Opinions
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Get Your IP Straight Intellectual property (IP) is the product of creativity - the film you saw last weekend, the song you heard on the radio, the logo on your morning cereal box, and yes, even that love poem you wrote to your special someone last Valentine’s Day. It’s all protected by law, although the type of protection offered to you - the creator - varies according to your work’s IP classification.

Intellectual property is divided into two groupings: Industrial property (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source) and Copyright (literary and artistic works) / Rights related to copyright (performing artists, producers, and broadcasters).

It is extremely important to understand exactly where you fit into this system, what your rights are, and what you need to do to ensure your work’s protection.


Have you invented anything lately, perhaps the next big holiday seller? If so, then you need to pay special attention to the rights offered to you under a patent.

A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something or offers a new technical solution to a problem. You must apply for a patent at a national or regional patent office, so unfortunately, you can’t just patent any gizmo.

Your invention must fulfill a certain set of conditions in order to be protected by law. It must be of practical use, show an element of novelty, and must demonstrate an inventive step that could not be deduced by a person with average knowledge of the selected technical field.

If granted, a patent provides protection to both the invention and the owner, but only for a limited period of time - usually 20 years. During the time that it is valid, a patent ensures that your invention cannot be commercially produced, used, distributed, or sold without your consent. As a patent holder, you have the right to decide who may - or may not - use your product. You may also give permission, or license, to others to use your invention or sell the right to the invention all together, but once the patent expires, the protection ends. At this time, the invention enters into the public domain. Although limited by time, patents encourage innovation and ensure that credit is given to those who deserve it. To access patent laws for various countries visit the Collection of Laws for Electronic Access (CLEA) website - www.wipo.int/clea/en


Trademarks are everywhere in our world! They are so pervasive in our consumer-driven culture, that we barely realize the influence that they weald. It is the meaning, the reputation, the, the assumed quality or status that we associate with this symbol, that steers our buying decisions. In technical terms, a trademark is a distinctive sign that identifies certain goods. This symbolic brand identity helps customers to select and purchase a product or service because of nature or quality. Trademarks are also subject to application - you can file with your national or regional trademark office - but the criteria for application are much less stringent. Mainly, your trademark must be distinct and apply to a certain set of products/services. Why go through this application process? A trademark provides legal protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it or to authorize another to use it in return for payment. The period over which this right applies varies, but a trademark can be renewed indefinitely beyond the time limit for additional fees.


Less obvious to the average person is Industrial Design. Industrial Design refers to whole or part of a product resulting from its features/design. This includes but is not limited to the lines, contours, colors, shape, texture, or materials.

Some examples of where industrial design patents may apply are the following: jewelry, watches, medical instruments, and even architectural structures. Again, you must register your industrial design in order to be protected under law, but it is important to do so, considering that it is the design that generally makes an article attractive, hence adding to its commercial value and increasing its marketability.

When an Industrial Design is protected, the owner is assured an exclusive right against unauthorized copying or imitation of the design. This helps to ensure fair return on investment and assist in economic development by encouraging creativity in the manufacturing sector. Keep in mind that different countries enforce different variations concerning the registration process, and similarly, as with other forms of legal protection, it is subject to time limitations - in most cases 5 years with possible renewal up to 15 years.


Lastly, under the category of Industrial Property, is Geographical Indication. The geographical indication points to a specific place or region of production and denotes to the consumer the quality of the product. It is because of this association with natural regional differences (climate, soil, etc.) that Geographical Indication is associated with agricultural products, but it is not limited to these products.

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Liz Livelli

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Its very nice.
dhananjaya | Oct 15th, 2005

About copyright on internet: is downloading bad?
Vincku | Oct 25th, 2005
Nowaday, it has become extremly "easy" to download for free songs, movies and softwares that was meant to be bought. Peer to peer, Bit torrent, usenet are commonly used by the mass to access for free, from their computers, at home, instead of going to a shop and buy cd's, dvd's or software licenses. Of course, some will say: its illegal to do that, and you are stealing the authors or creators of these materials copyrighted and its bad, bad, bad! These people are criminals. Lets put things straight and wipe out some ideas or rumours that the one who loose in this calculation would like to spread. First of all, it is not illegal to download. Its only illegal to share. Secondo: Since the tape recorder has been invented,remember those plastic things, with a magnetic ribbon and little wheelies, people have always done that.And nobody was complaining about it. Nowadays, it has become even more expensive to do it: you need a computer, a fast internet connection and more knowledges to be able to do it. This has a cost, so in this process we end up spending more eventually.Ipod and all mp3 players surf on this wave of downloaded files. Do you know the price of a ipod? Third ideas: Of course, the authors earn less money. Strangely, this is always the already mega rich singers or bands, movie makers or actors who complain about it.This is always the biggest resellers who takes a huge % in the benefits which point aggresivly their finger to this new tendency of downloading.Yes, they loose money. The reality is that this is the end of the golden years for them. Fair enough! Its time for them to find new ideas to sell, to evolve. Fourth ideas: the more a movie or an album is downloaded, the more they will be known! Its actually a good indice for them, the best one to see if what they did is good or not. As for music, so many so called "musicians or singers" sell their poor and bad music to us, by brainwashing us over the radio which broadcast in loop their best songs.Its maybe time for them to understand that the golden years for them has gone too. If they want their album to sell, they will have to do like the small bands and go on stage first in order to sell their album! And not the countrary. Fith idea: I would like to bring up this example. Adobe, the famous software company used Piracy to beat up Jasc with their now famous image editing software. Years ago, Jasc was the leader with Paintshop. Adobe decided then to render their software photoshop easily crackable. Everybody started to download it and use it. Result of this clever idea: Photoshop has now become a standard in image editing softwares. And Adobe is now strong as never before. 6th idea: What you download will never be as good as what you buy. Whether it is movies, music or even software/games, you wont get by downloading what you get when you buy them. Music: the mp3 is a compressed file and on loud speaker, you wont get the same sound as the wave file. It is the same for movies, if the picture will be ok on a computer screen, if you put it on a normal tv, you will notice the difference of quality or even sound. As for softwares, you wont get the full features of the software. Some shortcuts wont work, you wont be able to patch it to correct the bugs, and if you use them professionaly, you will have to proove at some point that you have bought your "tools". As for games, you wont be able to play them online, because for that, you will need a license number which is unique for each copy.So clearly, you will see limits. So all in all, downloading is not so bad. It forces authors to become better, it re establishes a fair balance in this business. And if you really like an singer, you can still buy (when you have the money for it) his cd, dvd, or go to see his performance on stage. I hope this comment will show you the other side of this phenomena.So please react... OropheR

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