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Understanding Trademark, Copyrights & Patents; the 3 most common IP!

A. Background

The background to IP can be traced to the development of a lot of knowledge based or knowledge intensive industries where the assets or the foundation of the company depends on an idea, an idea that is expressed and an idea that has been brought to life by the promoter/inventor/creator.

This development of knowledge based industries in not of a recent origin and can be traced back to Walt Disney’s IP of creating the Mickey Mouse Cartoon or to Nicola Tesla’s IP of the various inventions made in the engineering space.

B. What is IP?

IP therefore is intellectual property. A property which is created as a result of a person’s intellect. A creation of his mind or exertion of his mental faculties. 

C. Why is it relevant?

It is exceptionally relevant today to most of the businesses that have started something or have created something from scratch, a result of their intellectual property. They would definitely want o protect this, and by protection I mean, to have an exclusive right over it, refraining others from not using or misusing it.

D. What are the different types of IP?

There are various types of IP ranging from

1. Trademark:

This protects a mark or a name or a slogan that helps a trader/business distinguish his business by that of other businesses in the same industry. Can be words, phrases, symbols or designs. Some examples are,

  1. Bajaj
  2. Distinctly Ahead
  3. Humara Bajaj
  4. Pulsar
  5. Bajaj Logo

All of these would be register-able separately under name, slogan, phrase, product name, logo and design respectively.

Trademark registration takes 18 months to use the ® symbol once approved, but the ™ symbol can be used immediately on the filing of the trademark application. Therefore, you can protect your work from day 1.

2. Copyright:

A right over material you have created that restricts others from copying your work. Therefore, essentially, it is a right granted to you to retain the right to make copies from your work or grant a right to anyone who wants to copy or make copies of your work subject to that person giving adequate consideration.

Movies, songs, books, sculptures, computer software are included or are the items that can be copyrighted.

Copyright registration takes 18 months to use the ® symbol once approved, but the © symbol can be used immediately on the filing of the trademark application. Therefore, you can protect your work from day 1.

3. Patents:

A patent is for an invention, an invention meaning, a specific solution to a specific technological problem and may be a product or a process.

Like any other invention, any machinery/design/process or chemical can be patented. The I Phone design, the light bulb, the telephone, the design of a XIOMI power bank are all examples of products that have got a patent.

A patent essentially gives an inventor an exclusive right to the inventor over his invention for a limited period (20 years) in exchange for the complete public disclosure of his invention.

It is to be understood as of basics that, a patent does not give a right to make or use or sell an invention...rather it provides for protection against others from making, using, selling or offering for sale or importing the patented item till the period of the patent survives or  has not expired.

In a nutshell, all IP are negative rights. Negative as they exclude others from enjoying them or making any profit from them. 

A Patent registration takes 24 months to receive the patent registration certificate once approved. The patents operate on a first come first serve basis and hence, an application is to be made at the earliest. The law further provides an opportunity to inventors to file provisional applications where their invention is not completely ready but will be ready soon.

Need more information/help, we’re here to help!

The author can also be reached at whitecollarlegal@gmail.com

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