Any object or artistic effort formed by the mind which includes things like patents, inventions, works of art, logos, names and images used in a commercial manner are considered as intellectual property of a person, group of people or an organization. These things also enable the owners of the intellectual property to earn remuneration by using the intellectual property in many cases as it is used in a commercial manner. As these objects or works get recognized as property of an individual it is natural that laws will be developed safeguarding the works and helping the owners make sure that it is not replicated or used in a negative light by people who do not own the rights to use the relevant intellectual property for personal gains. (World Intellectual Propert Organization) Intellectual property as a concept can be categorized into two parts for better understanding:
Industrial property includes elements which are related to objects manufactured or invented and being used by an organization or a company. It includes things like industrial designs; trademarks, patents registered for inventions, and also include geographical indications. (Investopedia)
Copyright specifically covers rights regarding literary works like books, movies, music, and other artistic works like industrial design, architectural designs. Also includes non materialistic works like performances related to dance, phonograms and also telecasted radio and television shows. (Investopedia)
Intellectual property rights allow the creators of intellectual property to gain money from their work they have created. These rights are globally accepted and were initially outlined in the article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It significance was recognized in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) and Berne Convention for the protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886) and it lead to the administration of the treaty by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Significance lies in the creation of International Rights regarding Intellectual property due to the fact that its sanctity is a prime concern because it is a part of the Human Rights; Specifically Right to Knowledge and its application has importance as well as utility and also sets an international environment where creativity can flourish in the world. (Fisher, n.d.)
Once a person or a group of people invent an object unique from any other object or having unique characteristics, they can be granted an exclusive right regarding its usage due to their invention. It can be a product which accomplishes which was not possible before or accomplishes the same in a unique manner.
Patents are essential due to the fact that they grant incentives to the inventor by realizing its creativity and uniqueness and entitle them to the possibilities of gaining rewards from the invention. Patent owners gain the right to manufacture and replicate their product in any way they want. They also gain the right to provide anybody else a limited right to use their invention according to mutually agreed terms.
A patent is obtained by filing an application and once a patent is granted, it is applicable in any other company. An application will contain the title, purpose and utility of the invention and the field that the invention belongs to. Patents are generally granted by a National Patent Office.
Trademarks are defined by the World Intellectual Property organization as “A distinctive sign that identifies certain goods or services produced or provided by an individual or a company”. This system helps consumers identify a product in a way that it belongs to a certain person or company. A trademark protects its owner by giving him the individual right to use his name or mark on his products and services.
Trademarks put forward a sense of initiative and worldwide reach and reward the owner with a distinctive recognition and financial profits and in a way it facilitates international trade. A trademark may contain a combination of words, letters, a sign or a logo or a combination of all of them which is unique compared to other logos. Each country maintains a Register of Trademarks which registers new ones and keeps records of the trademarks.
Copyright and Related Rights
Copyrights and the laws related to it grant its owner protection for their creations and works of art and literature. Related right include the rights similar to copyright and their beneficiaries include actors, musicians, sound recorders, radio and TV telecasters. Copyright provides the owner the right to reproduce his work in any manner, publically perform his work, broadcast his song, translate it into other languages, and adapt it into other forms of art. The economic rights related to the copyright laws are of a temporary nature.
There has been a substantial increase in the last several decades with the enormous progress going on in the field of technology in the form of news ways to produce and transmit in varied forms of communication like CDs, DVDs, and satellite broadcasting. This heavy level of transmission of data through the internet gives a rise to concerning questions which are related to copyright and related right through the world. World Intellectual Property Organization is currently involved in the global debate going on to form new standards for the protection of in cyberspace.
World Intellectual Property Organization
It is an international organization dedicated to aid and ensures that the owners of the properties they are assigned to and protects their property through intellectual property laws and enlightens people about the laws surrounding intellectual property. It was established in 1970 and since then it acts as a protective entity for human creativity extending the potential of science and arts. It also contributes to the field of international trade by working with the member states of the countries. As it is a part of the United Nations system, it formulates the rules and regulations for the member states and supports the global registration systems and helps them in improving their service to the nations. Many countries have been constantly aided by the intellectual property systems since a hundred years and WIPO plays a key role in helping the new countries set up Intellectual property systems and in this manner it promotes intellectual property.
WIPO is a self financed management for the most part generating its income through the international registration and filling systems and also through its publications and mediation services while the rest of the funds arrive from the contributions of the member states. (World Intellectual Property Organization, 2014)
The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Generally known as the Berne Convention, its first version was signed in the year 1886 by countries like Belgium, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, France and the United Kingdom and after that in the later years, other countries joined in signing it. The new concepts brought forward in the convention were accepted in the countries which signed the convention accepted the various laws and regulations put forward in the convention which is one of the most important conventions in the field of intellectual property due to the crucial laws there were put forward in the convention.
The laws brought forward in the Berne Convention are the laws regarding applicability applies to national and residents of the countries who have signed in the convention about the works published first in another country that has residence in the signatory country.
The convention brought forward the concept of “country of origin” which is used to determine the country in which the work was originally produced for establishing the credit of the work and its application to the appropriate nation that it was created in. Even in the term of work published on the internet where it his harder to determine the origin and it helps the lawmakers figure out the country of origin in that area. (Fitzgerald, 2011)
If the author is unknown due to the reason that the author was deliberately anonymous or worked under another name, the Convention provides for a term of 50 years after publication has been done. However if the identity of the author becomes know through any medium, the copyright term for known authors (50 years after death) applies. The Berne Convention authorizes countries to allow “fair” uses of copyrighted works in other publications and other types of broadcasts.
It is lucid how important the concept of Intellectual property is and its application in all the countries is of paramount importance considering the significance of human creativity in all its forms and Intellectual property helps people reserve their right to the intellectual property.
Fisher, W. (n.d.). THEORIES OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. Harvard Law.
Fitzgerald, B. F. (2011). Country of Origin and Internet Publication : Applying the Berne Convention in the Digital Age. Journal of Intellectual Property (NJIP) Maiden Edition , 38-73.
Investopedia. (n.d.). Intellectual Property. Retrieved 10 15, 2014, from www.investopedia.com/: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/intellectualproperty.asp
World Intellectual Propert Organization. What is Intellectual Property. WIPO.
World Intellectual Property Organization. (2014). Home Page. Retrieved 10 15, 2014, from www.wipo.int: http://www.wipo.int/portal/en/