Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind – such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. From this definition we can analyze that, intellectual property can be in the form of a book or a painting or a song or any new invention.
It is stated by the law that the owner of an invention has an exclusive proprietary right over it. Therefore a book may be considered an intellectual property, and its author may have the rightful ownership over it. UAE law prohibits publishing or providing such intellectual property to the public directly or indirectly, unless one has owner’s prior consent.
Accordingly, if someone publishes a book without owner’s consent, the applicable punishment according to the UAE law is two month imprisonment, or a monetary fine raging from AED 20,000 to AED 50,000 or both.
Types of intellectual property
Copyright is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps and technical drawings.
A Patent gives you the right to stop others from copying, manufacturing, selling, and importing your invention without your permission. The existence of your patent may be enough on its own to stop others from trying to exploit your invention. If it does not, it gives you the right to take legal action to stop them exploiting your invention and to claim damages. The patent also allows you to sell the invention and all the intellectual property (IP) rights.
A Trademark is an identification symbol which is used in the course of trade to enable the purchasing public to distinguish one trader’s goods from similar goods of other traders.
The word “Mark” includes a device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter or numeral or any combination thereof.
Trademarks thus provide protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it when identifying goods or services. The owner can also authorize another to use the trademark in return for payment. Trademarks can become a very effective marketing tool for new business owners who wish to announce their presence in the market and establish themselves as a reputable company.
Industrial Design Rights
These protect the outward visual appearance of products which are sold on the basis of some “eye catching”. Protection can be for shape, decoration, colors, texture, etc. Design rights may be particularly important for businesses involved in manufacturing or selling consumer goods.
- Consumers are influenced by the appearance of the article in their choice.
- Many people blindly choose the article which catches their eye by appearance.
- At the time of purchase, people are attracted by a design which has an artistic merit.
Some articles with a particular design may attract the public and within a short period, the whole stock may be sold in the market. Hence, the design of goods increases profits by attracting customers.
A Geographical Indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production.
- Certain geographical names have acquired a lot of importance in the commercial market, particularly with regard to the goods uniquely associated with such names.
- Traders attach considerable value to the public recognizing the source, particularly the place of origin of the goods, especially when the name of that place is taken as a synonym necessarily after long and continuous use, for some special quality associated with the product originating from that place.
Example are: Darjeeling tea, Roquefort Cheese, etc
Safeguarding your IP
If your business has precious intellectual property you can ask help for formal protection of it by registering particular intellectual property rights. This will allow you to avoid others from using your intellectual property without your permission and you will also be able to choose the people to whom who want to grant rights. Most IP rights need renewing regularly after they are registered to keep them in force. The protection processes may be time consuming and expensive but are necessary if intellectual property is important to your business.
Financial benefits from intellectual property
A lot of new businesses often overlook the critical need to protect their valuable trademarks in the enthusiasm for increasing profitability of the company. Applying a trademark and patent strategy creates synergies within your portfolio, enhancing your brand and developing customer loyalty.
There are different ways in which you can make the most from your intellectual property:
- Royalty – You can allow other people to use it, usually in return for payment such as royalties on the profits they make from using your IP.
- Availing Credit against your IP
- Selling IP separately – You can sell your IP to other people, e.g. a valuable design or patent, again in return for payment.
- Prestigious Status
- Getting compensations