Intellectual property is a term used for original creations made by an individual or group like designs, logos, symbols, names, inventions, and any artistic work used in a business. The U.S. Constitution in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, initiated rights that protect intellectual property to safeguard authentic ideas and products for all creators’ benefit and progress.
Intellectual property mechanisms play a significant role in creating a haven for creators and encouraging innovation and originality. Framers of the U.S. Constitution also concluded that safeguarding intellectual property rights can contribute to economic dependence and domestic growth. Without these laws, businesses and individuals would not be fully compensated for their contribution to the arts.
Multiple intellectual property rights cater to a wide range of ideas and creations by various companies and individuals. Let’s discuss their differences so that you can quickly identify how you can protect your intellectual property.
Types of Intellectual Property
The first type of intellectual property is called Copyrights. These can be implemented on different musical compositions, recordings, films, literary pieces, and other creative works transformed into a tangible medium. Copyright cannot apply to individuals’ ideas; instead, it only applies to physical and concrete forms of original work. This type of IP allows the copyright owner to publish, sell, and produce copies of music, art, etc.
Another type of intellectual property is known as Trademarks. Logos, symbols, and slogans that refer to a particular product’s identity by a specific company or business can be categorized as this type of intellectual property. The most common examples of trademarks that everyone will surely recognize are logos and symbols of famous fast-food chains. Trademarks can be applied to specific texts, phrases, symbols, sounds, and color schemes. What makes trademarks different from copyrights is that the latter can only protect a single product or idea while trademarks can cater to multiple products or services.
Patents are another type of intellectual property used for technical or mechanical inventions and innovations. They prevent the unwarranted distribution or production of a specific product by a different individual or group. Patent owners are given the right to promote and sell an invention to interested clients under conditions and terms mutually agreed upon by both parties. The three categories of a patent are utility, design, and plant.
The last type of intellectual property is Trade Secrets. Trade secrets are identified as important information that is not publicly shared by the owner. This information can come in recipes, business plans, production methods, or instructions that give a company its unique quality or competitive edge. Through the protection provided for trade secrets, you can avoid the misappropriation of information.
Famous Intellectual Property Cases
From 2010 to 2019, cases regarding the violation of intellectual property increased by 128%. We have compiled the most famous intellectual property cases in this section of our blog post.
One of the most famous intellectual property violations cases is between Mattel Inc. and MGA Entertainment Inc. in 2008. MGA filed a lawsuit for the replication of their Bratz dolls’ design and appearance. However, Mattel’s legal representatives pointed out that the claim was false and that MGA violated trade secrets. MGA had to pay a large amount of money, and their rights to sell their products were also suspended. Through this case, we can learn it is best to acquaint yourself with the conditions of the different types of IP rights by consulting with civil litigation attorneys to defend you or your company effectively.
Another famous intellectual property case happened in 2016 when the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office canceled Crocs’s rights to its products’ design protection. The company mistakenly launched a shoe design without settling protection for its creation. Europe no longer allows an invention to receive protection when it has already been released to the public. One must always consider asking for legal advice from experts before launching any products to the consumer market to avoid situations like the Crocs case.
Louis Vuitton was also involved in a well-known trademark dispute with Louis Vuitton Dak, a chicken restaurant in Seoul, for copying the exact name and monogram pattern for their products. Louis Vuitton filed a lawsuit against the chicken company. The chicken restaurant ended up paying the amount of $125,000 for their actions. Regardless of the type of business involved, intellectual property rights should not be taken lightly.
Registering a business, product, or idea is a crucial step that business owners and entrepreneurs should not overlook. Create confidentiality agreements and apply necessary security measures with the help of trusted lawyers. Doing so can protect their creations commercially. Remember, intellectual property is a business asset that can benefit your company’s reputation and revenue stream in the long run.