There are many ways in which business law and intellectual property rules are interconnected. Nearly every business in places like the United States rely on the business model that assumes that one business cannot steal ideas from another business and profit off of those ideas. Although the complexities of this realm of business law are many and the situations not cut and dry, the section of business law that deals with intellectual property focuses on determining whether a party is infringing on the creativity of another party.
Intellectual property law varies between different niches, of course—intellectual property law that deals with music is different than those rules that deal with technology, for instance (Long & Letterman, 2002). This is because the intricacies of these two business niches are different, and the law that applies to these two different niches must also be different and specific to the details of the market (Long & Letterman, 2002). Lawyers who work in this particular field must be well-versed in the market as well as in the details of the law (Long & Letterman, 2002). Patents, copyrights, and trademarks are three of the most important areas of intellectual property law, and each section is extremely detail-oriented.
Understanding the nature of intellectual property law is important to understanding how a rift exists between those who want stronger protections for intellectual property, and those who want weaker protections (Roughton, 2008). Intellectual property protections exist so that innovation and creativity are not stifled by copying in a market (Roughton, 2008). However, it is very difficult to determine how other countries are going to react in a global market (Roughton, 2008).
There is certainly something to be said for increasing protections of intellectual property around the globe. For instance, when fake designer goods are produced, there are significant financial harms that can be done to the designer, in addition to the harm that can be done in terms of funding illicit organizations (Roughton, 2008). However, when companies in China are able to reverse-engineer electronics, massive numbers of faked or low-quality goods can flood the market, causing a slowing and eventual halt of creative processes within an industry (Roughton, 2008).
Creativity is an expensive prospect for businesses, and undercutting businesses by stealing their intellectual property is something that is punished fiercely by nations like the United States (Roughton, 2008). However, because some other industries in other nations are not as willing to adhere to restrictions, there are problems in the market (Roughton, 2008). Companies in non-compliant nations are more able to nix the intellectual property rights and adhere to a strictly competitive policy (Roughton, 2008). There is a push to limit these economic influences on markets like the American market to maintain the standards of intellectual property.
Intellectual property is a concept that is fundamentally important to business law. Businesses deal with hundreds of issues of intellectual property per day, so there must be very strict rules regarding the ways that businesses respect each others’ intellectual property and rights. Prior to these protections, the system was much more purely capitalistic, but it was also much more corrupt and power-hungry; although there are still instances of this today, the structure that is provided by intellectual property law is important to maintain integrity in the system.
Long, D., & Letterman, G. (2002). Basics of International Intellectual Property Law. The American Journal Of International Law, 96(3), 755. doi:10.2307/3062195
Roughton, A. (2008). The interface between intellectual property rights and competition policy. Journal Of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, 3(4), 270-271. doi:10.1093/jiplp/jpn016