How to save oneself from various IP issues

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Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is defined as the creations of the human mind whose exclusive rights are recognized. These rights are granted to artists, innovators, and business owners. Intellectual property ranges from trademarks, copyrights, and patents among others. Intellectual properties are usually assets of the companies that own them. It is called “intellectual property” because the works protected are a creation of the mind of “one’s intellect”.

They include inventions, designs, names, symbols, and images for use in commerce as well as artistic and literary work. Intellectual property is important to entrepreneur firms in many ways. First, intellectual property establishes the right to ownership of one’s intellectual creations so that one can benefit from them.

Secondly, they prevent competitors from copying or producing close imitations of one’s products or services. Intellectual property also protects a business’s image, identity, and reputation. Finally, by establishing a unique image or brand name, intellectual property helps a business to build customer trust and loyalty. 

Patents and its types

A patent is a legal document that allows the holder to maintain a monopoly over the use and development of a design, invention, or plant for a limited period. According to Homework Help USA, the three types of patents are:

Utility Patent

This type of patent is used for novel, non-obvious and useful inventions. A utility patent can be maintained for either functional or utilitarian aspects of an invention. The patent has a term of 20 years from the date the patent application is submitted for registration. In some specific situations, the term can be extended. During the term duration, the holder of this patent must pay maintenance fees to sustain it.

Design Patent

This type of patent is given for the aesthetic appearance of an invention. To qualify, an invention must be non-obvious, ornamental, and novel. This means the design should not only serve primarily a functional purpose. This type of patent expires after 14 years starting from the date of granting the patent. A maintenance fee is not required for these types of patents.

Plant patent

This type of patent is used upon the discovery or invention of a new and distinct variety of plants that can be asexually produced. To qualify, an invention must be distinct, novel as well as non-obvious. This type of patent has a duration of 20 years starting from the date of filing of the patent with the patent and trademark office.


According to writing companies, a trademark is a sign that is used to distinguish an individual’s business‘s goods or services from goods and services of other traders. It can be represented graphically via a company’s signature or logo. Trademarks are very important tools that help to protect a business’s brand.

A trademark restricts other people or businesses from using an identical name or logo. Also, a trademark can be used to protect a business’s market share. Further, a trademark can be licensed to third parties. It can also be sold outrightly. It can also help an individual to raise equity for his/her business.


 Dratler & McJohn (2016) define a copyright as a legal right that is created by the laws of a particular country granting the creators of original works exclusive rights for creation as well as the distribution of the works. A copyright only protects the original expression of the idea but not the underlying ideas themselves.

Copyrights only apply to some particular types of creative works. Copyrights are shared among different authors with each having a set of rights to use the work. The authors who share the rights are referred to as rightsholders. The rights mainly include control over reproduction, derivative works, and moral rights e.g. attribution as well as public performance.

These rights are usually territorial. This means the rights do not extend beyond a specific territory or jurisdiction. Due to this aspect, copyrights vary from one country to another. For a work to be protected under the copyright law, it must be tangible and original.

By tangible, it means the work must be expressed in a physical form. Originality means that the work must be a product of a person’s skills, labor, or an individual’s intellectual creation.