Part A: Intellectual Property
Intellectual property (or IP) is a term used in law to refer to mind creations which have recognizable exclusive rights. According to the laws that govern intellectual property, owners have certain rights to a wide range of assets which are intangible. These include literary, musical and artistic works; inventions and discoveries; and symbols, phrases, words and designs. Common intellectual property rights include patents, trademarks, copyrights, industrial design rights, and trade secrets in some jurisdictions. Intellectual property laws are aimed at protecting progress by encouraging innovation and protecting the innovators. It is known as intellectual property because it refers to assets which are not tangible. These assets are products of people’s intellect. Knowing one’s intellectual property rights protects the firm from unnecessary and unfair competition. This ensures that the firm enjoys maximum profits from its ideas without having to worry about other firms copying and profiting from it.
Part B: Types of Patents
There are three types of patents. These are utility patents, design patents and plant patents. Utility patents are given to people who discover or invent new and useful machines, processes, articles of manufacture, or matter composition, or new and useful improvements of these. Design patent is given to people who come up with new and original ornamental designs for articles of manufacture. Plant patents are given to people who discover or invent and asexually reproduce distinct and new plant varieties. Patents allow the owners to exclude other people from using, selling or making the invention for up to twenty years from the date of applying for the patent. This is subject to paying a certain fee for the maintenance of the patent, except for plant patents.
Part C: Trademarks
A trademark is a recognizable design, sign, or expression which is used to identify a product or service of one particular source from all other products from other manufacturers. The owner of the trademark can be a business organization, an individual or a legal entity. The trademark could be placed on a label, a package, voucher, or even on the product itself. Trademarks are important for establishing goodwill between product source or the source of the service and its consumer. Trademarks uniquely associate services and products with particular sources, even in cases where the source may be unknown to the consumer. By so doing, trademarks help companies and other businesses build and retain the services’ or product’s demand while at the same time enabling the consumers to identify the product and make their purchase based on their recognition of the brand.
Part D: Copyright
The term copyright refers to the exclusive right to license, make copies or exploit a musical, literacy, or artistic work, in any way, regardless of its format.(that is, whether printed, audio, video or other format.) this law was put in place to protect such works for as long as the author lives or for a period of 50 years after the death of its creator. Materials that can be protected by copyrights include musical works and their accompanying words, literacy works, dramatic works and their accompanying music, choreographed works and pantomimes, graphic, pictorial and sculptural works, architectural works, sound recordings, computer software, architectural works, motion pictures or any other audiovisual works. Works that have not been put in writing or saved in other tangible forms such as electronically or government ideas cannot be copyright protected. Once the copyright expires, the items become part of the public domain.
George, D. (2007). Intellectual Property Rights. In T. Beauchamp, The Oxford Handbook of Business Ethics (pp. 40-43). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
James, B. (2008, June). The value of U.S. patents by owner and patent characteristics. Elsevier, 37 (5), 932-945.