As a business owner/entrepreneur we should care about intellectual property because it’s one of the most important business assets that we will ever own. Intellectual property, often referred to as IP, is a legal term covering various forms of valuable business assets. The three primary areas of IP are trademarks, copyrights and patents. IP is often misunderstood and confused. To most people and businesses, everything seems to be a copyright, when it may actually be a trademark that applies or vice versa. To protect IP, you need to know what it is – identifying what type of IP we’re talking about is often times the most difficult thing to do.
Trademark is essentially another word for brand or brand name. A trademark can be any name, word, symbol, slogan, or device that serves to both identify and distinguish a business or product from others in the market. Once you have trademarked your business, if someone else makes an attempt to use something similar enough to confuse customers, you have the right to legally protect yourself and stop the other party. Trademarks are also essential to the success of franchised businesses such as McDonald’s and Subway.
Example: Nike’s famous “swoosh” logo and even the Nike slogan “Do It
Importance of trademark
As a trademark owner, you can stop others, including competitors, from using your trademark or a confusingly similar one, many banks will not allow you to open a business account under your business name if it is not trademarked. Trademarking also gives you legal ownership in specific locations, be they local, state, or nationwide. To maintain a good reputation, trademarked companies will often work harder to provide quality services and products. Trademarks are also used as a way of protecting consumers
Trademarks provide protection for both businesses and consumers, making them an important part of running a successful company. Therefore, it is good practice for all business owners to take sufficient action to protect and enforce valuable trademarks.
A patent is important because it can help safeguard your invention. It can protect any product, design or process that meets certain specifications according to its originality, practicality, suitability, and utility. In most cases, a patent can protect an invention for up to 20 years
A patent provides a right to an inventor(s) to exclude others from exploiting the patented invention. Therefore, other than the inventor cannot use, make or sell the patented invention without permission from the inventor. This is often referred to as the exclusive right of the invention. The inventor can capitalize on this exclusive right and make his patent commercially viable
Importance of patents
Patents provide exclusive rights which allow the inventor to exclude others from using the invention. Particularly, for 20 years from the date of filing the patent application. The inventor has obtained the exclusive right to the invention, the inventor can exercise this right by preventing others from commercially using the patented invention thereby reducing the competition and thus establishing a place in the commercial market. Having invested a considerable amount of time and money in developing the invention, under the umbrella of exclusive rights, the inventor could bring in the invention to the commercial market and thus obtain higher returns on the investment and this depends on the economic utility of the patent. For this reason, the inventor must ensure the commercial viability of the patent before investing in a patent. Sometimes, the inventor might not want to exploit the invention himself. In such cases, the inventor can sell or license the rights to commercialize it to another enterprise. This would result to bring royalty and revenue to the inventor.
Copyright is a form of protection provided to the creators of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Copyright law generally provides the copyright owner with the exclusive right to use and reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, and to display the copyrighted work publicly for a very long time
Importance of copyrights
A copyright protects the form of expression (e.g., the writing itself) rather than the subject matter of the writing (such as an invention, which a patent can protect) or the brand name or logo contained in the creative work (which trademark law can protect).
As a copyright owner, you can control how your work is reproduced, distributed and presented publicly. We can stop others (including competitors) from using your copyrighted works or works that are substantially similar to yours.
Therefore the main purpose of intellectual property law is to encourage the creation of a wide variety of intellectual goods. To achieve this, the law gives people and businesses property rights to the information and intellectual goods they create, usually for a limited period of time. This gives economic incentive for their creation, because it allows people to profit from the information and intellectual goods they create. These economic incentives are expected to stimulate innovation and contribute to the technological progress of countries, which depends on the extent of protection granted to innovators.