Intellectual property is a collection of rights intended to protect intangible properties, for example, creative works, inventions, designs and other properties that have no physical existence.
Intellectual property rights are granted by law to inventors, artists, designers, and to virtual assets that do not physically exist, such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, designs, trade secrets, source names, performers' rights and broadcast rights.
Intellectual property laws allow artists, inventors, designers and others get legal protection against copying, exploitation or abuse of their property, even though they have no physical existence – these laws allow for such properties to realize their full economic value.
These rights, which are granted to the owner of an intellectual property, are customized to the type of creative work, which enables granting protection from unlawful uses.
The objective of intellectual property is to encourage and incentivize: technological development, creation and research –by granting rights and safeguarding the interests of the inventors and creators.
Importance of registering intellectual property rights
In order to obtain exclusive rights to intellectual property such as patents, designs and trademarks, you need to register it with the respective Patent, Design or Trademark Office.
In Israel, copyright is granted to original creative works without registration. In the United States, however, there is also the option of registering a copyright, but registration is not necessary in order to be granted rights.
An application for a patent, design or trademark is examined and, if it meets the requirements, it will be approved, and the property owner will receive the exclusive right to use the invention, creative work, or trademark and receive legal protection against unauthorized uses of the invention/creative work/trademark.
It is important to note that the protection of intellectual property is granted for a limited time period, when in some cases, it can be extended. Patents receive protection for a 20-year period. Designs receive protection for a 5-year period, which can be extended twice, for a total of 15 years. Trademarks receive protection indefinitely. After the period of protection ends, the invention or creative work becomes public domain and anyone can use it.
What happens in cases of intellectual property infringement?
Since intellectual property rights include different types of rights, intellectual property infringement are also treated independently. For example, in order to benefit from copyright and receive protection in cases where those rights are infringed, it is important to document the creative work – the owner of the creative work can do it through emails, messages, pictures, writing and in other ways. In case of copyright infringement, the owner should document the infringement and consult a patent attorney.
Patent or design infringement is different, because only in cases where the patent or design is registered can the owner get protection against infringement. Of course, in this case, too, the recommendation is to contact a patent attorney experienced in intellectual property infringement. Ask Dr. Sharona Lahav to learn more about protecting your intellectual property from possible infringement.