Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the intangible creations of your mind that are proven to be unique. Intellectual property might include everything that has been thought and expressed exclusively such as inventions of scientific theories, literary and artistic works, symbols, designs, names, and images.
What is intellectual property?
The houses, lands, cars, cell phones, computers, TV, even the paintings on our walls that we own are our properties. The only prerequisite is that we should be able to claim the ownership of the thing we own and we can legally call it our “property”. However, most of us don’t know that the definition of property extends to intangibles as well. The intangible, abstract or incorporeal objects are creation of minds and solely based on human knowledge. They don’t have a physical personification or structure. They are referred to as intellectual property. For example writings, business secrets, inventions, etc.
The ownership of intellectual property
When it comes to ownership of intellectual property, it is way harder to determine as compared to that of corporeal or physical property. The reason for this complication is that it’s not possible to stop others from using an intangible property at a time. For example, a recipe can be used by infinite people at the same time so it’s not possible to stop others from following the recipe. That’s why intellectual property laws have been sought and developed to settle the disputes related to the infringement of intellectual property rights.
Types of intellectual property
Intellectual property is classified into the following types.
- Geographical indications
- Trade secrets
- Passing off
- Unfair competition
- Traditional knowledge etc.
All the things mentioned above are the rights one can claim under intellectual property.
What are intellectual property rights?
The intellectual property laws give the freedom and authority to a person to use his intellectual property or to sell, reproduce or distribute it just the way they want. In the post-industrial age where we have infinite competitors, there’s a dire need to protect the inventions and technology that one creates through his personal endeavors. Nobody has the right and freedom to exploit the product of somebody else’s effort. That’s why IP laws are there to protect the real owners. However, there are two properties of non-physical objects that bring out the complication in giving sole rights to one person:
- The non-physical objects are non-rival. This means that their usage by one person doesn’t minimize or depreciate them from being used by others at the same time. For example, if a person lends his lawnmower to his neighbor, he cannot use it at the same time. Or if he’s using it, can his neighbor use it simultaneously? No, but in the case of an online story, one can read it along with several other people reading it at the same time.
- The non-physical objects are non-exclusive. A person using an intangible thing cannot practically exclude others. Like the example of the recipe. But if a car owner is using his car, it is very easy to exclude others from using it. For example, he can lock it in his garage.
It’s argued that intellectual property shouldn’t be restricted in its consumption and it should be open to all so that everyone can derive benefits from it because it would be mean to restrict its use to a single person. The counter-argument is that intellectual property is the sole product of the owner’s labor. He creates it so it’s up to him if he wants to share it with others or not. The debate persists until the present.
Interesting Facts about IP (Intellectual Property)
- Over 80% of the world’s companies stem profit from IP.
- Leaking your IP rights might cause your company to suffer great loss.
- IP rights are subjected to regular periodical review.
- IP is a tradable asset. You can sell your IP to anyone you want.
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