How much do you know about intellectual property rights and what it means for your business? In most cases the answer to this question is very little and it is completely understandable why many business owners have very little idea about this area of the law. Unfortunately however the laws surrounding intellectual property rights are very important and at the very least you should have an overview of what they mean and why they exist. We caught up with an expert in this field Michael E. Melton, to find out more about the law and what it means for businesses.
The Intellectual Property Rights
Let’s make a start by looking at the various rights which exist within the intellectual property umbrella.
Patent – A patent is something which is even to an individual such as an inventor for a product, part or mechanism that they have created.
Trademark – A logo, sign or symbol which is created and used by a company to identify themselves. A prime example here could be the golden arches of Mcdonalds.
Copyright – Copyright refers to artistic creation of words and phrases, sounds and smells, this is usually used in conjunction with music, books, architectural drawings or scripts.
Trade Secrets – The trade secrets act protects companies from having exclusive information such as systems, devices, procedures and strategies stolen and used. Such information is exclusive to the business that cerated it.
Publicity Rights – These rights prevent anyone from using a name or image of someone without their consent.
Unfair Competition – This law was passed to prevent any business from gaining an unfair advantage through the use of defamation, false advertising or trademark infringement.
In all of the above examples the person who company who has ownership of any of the content, ideas and information must give authorization for them to be used for any kind of benefit and unless this happens, nobody else can use their creations.
Why You Need To Know
There are really two main reasons why businesses should understand what these laws mean. The first reason is because if you or anyone inside the business should create something unique then it is vital that you understand how you can protect it and prevent anyone else from copying it. Secondly it is vital that businesses understand these laws because falling foul of it either knowingly or unknowingly can have some dire consequences. Financial penalties, law suits and sanctions are just some of the potential outcomes of breaking any of the laws around intellectual property rights an din some cases this can actually cause businesses to close, especially smaller businesses.
These laws are taken very seriously by other businesses and in the courtroom so you need to make sure that everything which the company does is in line with what the law says. If you aren’t sure about it then you have to consult a legal professional.