Intellectual property is a term used to refer to all mind creations that have commercial value. These creations include artistic works, inventions, designs, images, brands, and literary works. Intellectual property contributes to a company’s net worth and sometimes gives firms a competitive edge in the market. Businesses and individuals ought to know how to identify, value, and protect intellectual property assets. Businesses must keep track of any innovations and developments on their brands or products.
The importance of intellectual property protection
Every country has laws that protect intellectual property. Such laws differ across countries but serve the same purpose. The main purpose for protecting intellectual property is to ensure that individuals do not copy or benefit from other people’s ideas and creations. This stimulates more creations because creators are assured that no one shall take advantage of their creations. Protecting intellectual property enables creators to control or determine who uses their creations. Individuals and companies have a right to exclude some people or firms from using their creations.
Intellectual property protection encourages innovations and creations that benefit the public. Without such protection, individuals keep their ideas private. Creators cannot gain maximum benefits from their creations if they are not publicized. Protection of intellectual property allows businesses to allocate more resources to innovations. Consequently, consumers enjoy better products and businesses create new jobs in the process. Countries can use intellectual property to spur economic and cultural development. Intellectual property laws enable countries to balance innovators’ interests with public interests for better lives. Consumers benefit from intellectual property protection as they can differentiate between original and counterfeit products. Some businesses that benefit communities significantly would not exist today if there were no laws protecting innovations.
How to protect intellectual property
An individual or corporate must identify and register its intellectual property. This is the most critical decision that any innovator can make. Innovators must also ensure that they are not infringing another innovator’s intellectual property. In some countries, registering an intellectual property grants automatic protection. Innovators can protect their creations through trademarks, patents, and copyrights. Trademarks are unique signs that consumers use to identify products and services from a given firm. Organizations have exclusive rights to use trademarks on their products or services. Innovators can develop and register trademarks for their creations.
Patents are rights granted for inventions. In this case, individuals or firms have exclusive rights to produce goods or services in a certain way. Innovators can permit others to use their inventions for a fee. They can also sell patents to interested parties. Copyright laws mostly apply to literary and artistic works. Copyrights prevent replication of songs, books, dramas, poems, plays, advertisements, paintings, and computer programs among others.