Innovation can be encouraged only when it gets the proper protection and exclusive control. Consuming intellectual goods requires a form of intellectual property law - the rights, patents, or copyright that indicates the limitation of the use of the information and intellectual goods. With smart fraudsters, identifying and detecting the damage created by infringement and piracy is a challenge. Conventional approaches are insufficient as there is no visibility at the granular level. Intellectual property (IP) rights offer legal protection to inventors and creators as outlined in the law and enable exclusive access. Currently, blockchain and NFTs are poising to have the potential to track and guard intellectual property (IP) better.
GoodFirms' research titled 'Intellectual Property Protection: Best Practices to Reduce Liability' examines intellectual property protection methods, the best practices to reduce the liability of intellectual property, major governing organizations, and significant acts safeguarding the rights of intellectual property owners. The research also analyzes how intellectual property rights are important for enterprises in a global context.
Table of Contents:
- World Intellectual Property Organization
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office
- European Union Intellectual Property Office
- Intellectual Property Office of Singapore
- China National Intellectual Property Administration
- The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
- United States Patent Act
- United States Copyright Act
- Copyright Law of the European Union
Implications of Intellectual Property on Different Domains
Best Practices to Reduce Intellectual Property Liabilities
Intellectual Property Protection (IPP): An Ethical Dilemma
Intellectual property refers to the creation of assets, including artistic works, designs, trademarks, copyrights, patents, brand names, trade secrets, etc. It plays a crucial role in the economic and cultural life of people. Various laws and regulatory bodies are formed globally to protect the intellectual property rights of inventors and creators. Patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc., are some of the commonly used IP protection methods creating a difference in people's lives.
Organizations like The United States Patent and Trademark Office, European Union Intellectual Property Office, World Intellectual Property Organization, etc., regulate the laws and procedures related to intellectual property rights and protection. Legal acts like DMCA, the US patent act, US copyright law, etc., were formed to provide exclusive rights to intellectual property owners when their invention is publicly disclosed without permission or stolen.
This study, 'Intellectual Property Protection: Best Practices to Reduce Liability', attempts broad research into intellectual property and seeks to identify the best practices to reduce liability in intellectual property dealings. This study also aims to state the implications of intellectual property laws on different industries and the need for IP in the world of NFTs. This report also provides an overview of global organizations working for intellectual property protection and the acts governing intellectual property.
Major Intellectual Property Types
This is the first intellectual property type officially recognized by the modern legal systems. Patents are mainly acquired for protecting commercial inventions such as processes, new businesses, etc. From electric lighting to the iPhone, patents are becoming very common to get exclusive rights over an invention. With patents, organizations and individuals can prevent anyone from selling and making their inventions and innovative products without prior permission. Globally, patents in 2020 were higher than in 2019, with an over 1.6% growth rate which indicates positive growth in the upcoming time.(1)
Mainly, three types of patents exist at present, which are as follows:
- Utility patent for technological innovations and developments, including pharma products.
- Design patents for original and new designs for a product or service.
- Plant patents for the discovery of new plants developed without genetic manipulation.
Patents are valid for decades depending upon the invention. As per US Patent laws, if the invention of someone is publicly disclosed, they have one year to file for a patent if they want to protect their invention.(2)
A trademark can be anything, such as a phrase, word, symbol, etc., used to recognize and distinguish one party from other parties' similar products and services. It reduces the confusion among consumers when customers see similar things. A trademark is usually used for products, whereas a service mark is used for services. However, people generally use trademarks for both products and services. The members of any institution use collective marks to show/represent an association. Trademarks have been used since ancient times as signature marks, words, or signs, and laws were slowly formulated to protect the creative arts. It is one of the easiest ways of creating intellectual property rights. Examples of trademarks include registered brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Dettol, Old Spice, etc.
In most cases, trademarks are protected by the national government. Still, few organizations, like World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), offer international platforms to people of different member countries to register their trademarks with a single application.(3) Registration through certified authorities is essential to protect any trademark. Trademark owners must submit a written application to the trademark office and detailed product information while meeting the requirements. A trademark is usually given for a specific time.
Copyright is acquired to protect authors' and designers' creative and original work. It is different from a trademark as it protects the owner's innovative product or abstract design. Copyright work includes photographs, sound recordings, illustrations, paintings, blogs, architecture, etc. It protects the original expressions of ideas, not the general concept. A copyrightable work should be original and fixed in a tangible form of expression; otherwise, it is rejected by authorities. Examples of copyright include lyrics of songs, film scripts, novels, images, poems, etc.
Copyrights are very useful in authorships for reproducing the work, displaying work publicly, distribution, etc. Copyrights last for decades, i.e., 95 years after publication or 120 years after creation, whichever is suitable.(4) Copyright protects the exclusive rights of authorship to distribute, reproduce and display their work. In addition, it prevents people from copying and duplicating work without the owner's permission.
These are known as tricks of the trade, know-how, methods, secret composition, etc., that include confidential business information. These are integral to the organization's or individuals' success, just like patents, trademarks, and copyright. Trade secrets carry some commercial value and are known to only a few people. It is among the most secret weapons of any organization through which they dominate the market.
For example, the Coca-cola recipe is known as the trade secret of Coca Cola brand, which is stored in a secured and safe container.(5)
Industrial design refers to the professional practices in which designers design devices, products, services, and objects for people worldwide. These are often termed the aesthetic and ornamental aspects of something with a sense of sight. It may include shapes, patterns, colors, etc., that have some visual appeal and serve as a pattern for manufacturing products or handicrafts items. Industrial designs add commercial value to the products, resulting in enhanced marketability, thus playing a crucial role in the products and goods trade.
Industrial designs are protected by registering for patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc. In United States law, industrial patents are protected through design patents issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A design patent in the USA is usually valid for 15 years term.(6)
Types of Intellectual Property Infringements
Intellectual property rights are legally protected through trademarks, copyrights, or patents. An infringement occurs when a person’s intellectual property rights are violated. When someone infringes on another’s intellectual property rights, the former can sue the latter for monetary damages or an injunction preventing the violator from using the trademarks, copyrights, or patents.
There are three main types of infringements in intellectual property law: Copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and patent infringement.
- Copyright infringement occurs when a party steals, uses, and sells the copyrighted intellectual property of another party without permission. For instance, the prominent fashion house Louis Vuitton sued a pet product company, Haute Diggity Dog, that introduced parody products named Chewy Vuitton, imitating the Louis Vuitton brand name.(7)
- Trademark infringement occurs when a party uses another party's trademarks without permission. Trademarks protect the brand image, allowing consumers to differentiate between different products. Starbucks filed a lawsuit against New York’s Coffee Culture Cafe’s parent company for trademark infringement. Coffee culture cafe had launched a drink called Freddoccino, which was similar to Starbucks’ Frappucino brand.(8) The Jack Daniel vs. Patrick Wensink case is another example of trademark violation. Patrick Wensink, a book author, kept his book's cover similar to the trademark of Jack Daniel, the famous Tennessee-based Whiskey Distiller. However, Jack Daniel did not threaten the author with a lawsuit and sent a letter reminding him to change the cover. The whiskey brand also offered to contribute financially to the transition. The letter went viral and garnered Jack Daniels positive publicity.(9)
- Patent infringement occurs when a party uses another’s invention without the other party’s permission. Pfizer vs. Teva case where Teva and Sun Pharma launched generic copies of Pfizer’s patented drug Protonix. Pfizer received 2.15 billion dollars in damages.(10)
Some examples of infringements are:
- Copying logos
- Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted books, music recordings, videos, movies, and legacy material
- Counterfeiting and selling artwork
- Copying and selling NFTs
- Selling products and services with slight modifications in the names of popular brands to deceive people.
- Counterfeiting branded pharmaceuticals medicines
- Fake fashion wear
- Trade secret thefts
- Cyber Intrusions for IP theft
Subtypes of Infringement:
Contributory infringement: Occurs when one party contributes to another's infringing conduct, such as by inducing another to infringe, by inaction, or by consent.
Example: A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster Inc: A&M Records sued Napster, a file-sharing website from where users can download music for free. While users actually committed the violation by infringing upon copyrighted music records, Napster was accused of providing the platform. A&M Record won the lawsuit, and Napster was taken down.(11)
In order for one to be found liable for contributory infringement, the following elements must be proven:
- the defendant was aware of the infringing activity and is guilty of aiding and abetting the activity by physical or material contribution
- the defendant had the ability to control or prevent the infringing activity.
Subtractive infringement: Occurs when a new work is created by removing parts of another work. For example, if someone takes a photograph of a painting and uses it in their own painting, this would be considered a subtractive infringement.
Compositional Infringement: When the violator creates a new song that is substantially similar to the original piece. This includes copying the melody or lyrics of another song.
Literal Infringement: Literal infringement is when a person copies the exact words/structure of other works/devices without permission. For example, if someone publishes a book that is nearly identical to another book that has already been published, this would be literal infringement.
Induced Infringement: Induced infringement is when a violator has encouraged or misled a third party to patent theft.
With the growing number of cases of cyberspace-related infringement, countries such as UK and Malaysia have launched their Infringing Website List and regularly place the violating websites on this list. Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) identifies websites that provide and publish copyrighted material and puts them on this list.(12)
Importance of Intellectual Property Protection:
There are a number of reasons why it’s important to protect IP Intellectual property (IP):
- It can help protect the value of your brand or product. If someone else uses your brand or product name without permission, they may be able to cause confusion among customers or damage their reputation.
- It prevents competitors from taking advantage of your new products or ideas by copying them.
- It can protect you against claims that you stole someone else’s idea. This can help prevent lawsuits if your invention turns out to be similar to someone else’s patent or copyright.
Role of IP in Promoting Economy and Trade
Intellectual property rights (IPRs) and the economy are closely linked. As the economy grows, so does the need for intellectual property protection. IPRs have become increasingly important in an era of globalization where businesses need to protect their valuable assets from theft or duplication by competitors. Intellectual property rights are strategic drivers of economic growth, productivity, employment, international trade, exports, imports, etc.
IPRs are a key differentiator when it comes to competition for innovation, technologies, and product categories. IPRs are a way for businesses to attract customers and investors by providing them with security over their intellectual property. IP-reliant industries directly or indirectly benefit from IPR protection.
Significant Organizations Protecting Intellectual Properties
The importance of IP rights is such that many governments have created specialized agencies tasked with enforcing IP laws and investigating IP theft cases. Various governmental organizations aim to protect organizations' and individuals' intellectual properties. These organizations provide the rights to individuals through which they can practice to reduce their liabilities or infringements of intellectual property. Some of the global organizations for Intellectual Property Protection are as follows:
World Intellectual Property Organization
WIPO, or World Intellectual Property Organization, serves as a global platform for intellectual property services, information, policy, and cooperation for the 193 member states.(13) The organization came into existence in 1967 to promote and protect intellectual property worldwide. WIPO looks after 26 international treaties for addressing intellectual property issues.
Functions of the World Intellectual Property Organization
- Shaping international rules: It is one of WIPO's core functions in developing and implementing laws associated with intellectual property. WIPO provides a neutral environment for the different countries to strike a fair balance, negotiate new rules, etc.
- Delivering global services: WIPO also provides registration and international filing services to help resolve intellectual property disputes.
- Cooperating with countries and partners to make IP work for development: WIPO also assists countries in using and benefiting the IP laws for their IP protection.
- Providing information and shared infrastructure: WIPO provides comprehensive and critical information on global IP issues through its books, magazines, studies, and other documents.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office
It is a federal agency with patent and trademark registration authority in the United States. People with intellectual property can request a trademark and patent from this authority. The agency solely operates on the fees collected from its users instead of using taxpayers' money. The goals of this agency are aligned with Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 and Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 for the growth of science, practical arts, and inventions.(14) The agency has played a crucial role in the development of the US in terms of new product developments, a new use for old discoveries, and creating millions of new employment opportunities.
USPTO actively advises on the policy, protection, promotion, and enforcement of intellectual property protection. The agency works closely with other global agencies for free trade and international agreements. Agency is also actively providing training, capacity-building programs, education, etc., to foster respect in intellectual property development.
European Union Intellectual Property Office
EUIPO, or European Union Intellectual Property Office, is responsible for managing and administering trademarks and designs that make sense in the EU with a single application. EUIPO works with several other regional and national intellectual property offices, the European Commission, user groups, etc., to safeguard the intellectual properties and rights of Europeans. These organizations provide exclusive design protection rights and trademarks throughout the European Union.
EUIPO is also responsible for the practices used for the development of Intellectual property tools. Since 2012, EUIPO has been leading the fight against counterfeiting and piracy by hosting the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights.(15)
Intellectual Property Office of Singapore
It is a statutory board formed by the government of Singapore to advise and administer the intellectual property laws, awareness, infrastructure, and development of IP. It was formed in 2001 when Singapore saw significant improvements in innovation and creativity. This organization has become very important for Singapore after the recent rise in the global innovation index to the 7th spot.(16) The organization aims to turn people's ideas into assets to catalyze a future driven by commercially successful and life-changing ideas. IPOS is also dedicated to building Singapore into an international hub for IP. The four central values of IPOS are integrity, professionalism, teamwork, and people focus.
China National Intellectual Property Administration
Also known as the Chinese Patent Office, CNIPA was founded in 1980 to administer patent works and related affairs in the intellectual property domain. It carries out the patent examination, trademark registration, design registration, etc., to protect the intellectual property of people and other organizations. The organization is also actively formulating intellectual property policies for their use, transfer, and commercialization. CNIPA is also considered the Chinese branch of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Intellectual Property Protection Laws/Acts
For any invention, the developers or inventors need to follow several laws and acts to eliminate copyright/patent confusion or issues. Some of the widely known intellectual property laws are as follows:
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was formulated to criminalize the production of technology that can be used to gain access to copyrighted works. This act was passed in 1998 after amending US copyright law to address the growing relationship between the internet and copyright. The DMCA also states the penalties and punishments for copyright infringements mainly happen on the internet. DMCA also amended the United States code to limit the liability of online service providers in situations of copyright infringement by the users, along with extending the reach of copyright.
The three main highlights of this act are as follows:
- It establishes protections for digital service providers when their users are engaged in infringements of copyrighted material and lays procedures for notice and takedown.
- It encourages copyright holders to share their creations with more people and organizations while ensuring legal protection from unauthorized users.(17)
- It prevents the spread of false information and removes or alters the copyrighted information on the web, i.e., false copyright management information.
United States Patent Act
The federal government of the USA codified this act into the United States code to grant rights to people for their inventions such as processes, matter composition, machines, etc. It has one of the broadest standards regarding patentable inventions compared to other countries. An invention should be novel, non-obvious, helpful, and statutory to be patented in the USA.(18) This act ensures that an invention cannot be made, used, and sold for 20 years once the developers or makers obtain a patent.
This act provides the opportunity for inventors to keep a monopoly in the market for 20 years, and after that, the technology is disclosed in the market for free use.
United States Copyright Act
This act was enacted in 1976 by the US congress to promote culture and arts within societies. It provides a set of exclusive rights to authors for selling their work, creating derivative work, and displaying their work publicly. However, the rights are given for a specific time, i.e., either 95 years of publication or 70 years after the author's death. United States copyright office handles the information and data of this act, including registration, recording of transfers, etc.
Copyright Law of the European Union
The European Union formed this act through several directives. This act is aligned with international conventions such as the TRIPS agreement, of which the EU is a member. All members of the EU follow this act with minor differences from place to place. The copyright law of the European Union protects the following rights of the performers, authors, producers, and broadcasting firms::
- Right to reproduce
- Right to communication
- Right to distribution
- Right to fixation and rent
- Right to broadcasting
Implications of Intellectual Property on Different Domains
Intellectual properties play a vital role in the success of almost all industries ranging from IT to Pharmaceutical. Some of the implications of intellectual property on different industries are as follows:
The pharma industry is one of the most critical industries in the modern world. This industry is fulfilling the population's healthcare needs irrespective of economies' stable behavior or recession mode. The demand for pharmaceutical products and services is leading the growth of this industry along with the rise in medical inventions. Intellectual property protection is crucial for this industry in ensuring that medical innovators continuously work to discover new treatments and cures for patients without worrying about potential infringements and stealing ideas.
Intellectual property rights (IPR) protect the idea or concept of new medical inventions, such as drugs, devices, etc., from getting stolen or reverse-engineered by competitors. IPR also drives the economic growth of the pharmaceutical industry by awarding the sole rights to inventors. Through this, the inventor acquires all the rights to their inventions for marketing, selling, or licensing.
Intellectual property rights ensure that the registered medical products and services are of the highest quality and standard. Consumers can make the right choices when selecting any medical products. This helps establish an effective and reliable public health infrastructure for discoveries to generate solutions to global healthcare challenges.
The biggest challenge for the manufacturing sector is to have robust systems for protecting intellectual properties and data while ensuring the free flow of information through the supply chain. Manufacturing organizations need a security system to protect internal and external data by securing different networks, endpoints, and storage on and off the cloud.
Intellectual property rights ensure that the manufacturing sector can protect its brands, products, and designs. With trademark and patent protection, unique designs and functionalities of products, such as packaging, prices, ingredients, etc., can be protected from duplication. Other people cannot use these patented or trademarked products without the inventor's consent. If patented work is used without the inventor's consent, massive lawsuits can be filed against the culprit.
Patents are playing a crucial role in the IT industry for the last few decades due to their emergence as an important economic sector. New developments in technological hardware, software functionalities, the internet revolution, etc., have fueled the need to protect intellectual properties. Intellectual property rights ensure that developers can invest in developing and marketing their software and other functionalities to have a legal mechanism to capture the software's value.
Without IP protection, any organization or second comer can copy their inventions, impacting the success of original inventors. After the transformation of the software industry around the 1970s, the need to protect intellectual property arose to eliminate the exploits of new market entrants. After decades of research and development, intellectual property rights were introduced for the IT industry in terms of copyrights, patents, etc., to prevent piracy and other infringements.
Moreover, intellectual property protection is becoming a necessary right of the IT industry in promoting technological advancements and creation sharing while benefiting society.
Intellectual property protection was one of the most neglected components in the E-commerce industry in earlier decades of the 21st century. The shift is happening, and e-commerce business owners are hugely focusing on intellectual property rights. Awareness about the use of intellectual property in the technological and internet infrastructure is spreading, leading to new changes in the industry.
Intellectual property laws safeguard the interests of e-commerce business entities against unfair market competition based on illegal duplication, stealing, and distribution of products ranging from software, music, designs, etc. There are different elements for the protection of e-commerce intellectual properties, as follows:
- Utility and patent models protect e-commerce systems like search engines, technical tools, etc.
- Copyrights are mainly used for protecting the codes, software, and creative designs, including images, texts, audio, etc.
- The Sui generis database laws also protect databases.
- Trademarks are used for protecting logos, names, symbols, etc., that are available on the internet.
- Industrial design protection is used for graphic user interfaces, screen displays, web pages, etc.
- Patent protection is used for protecting online business models and methods.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
NFTs, or nun-fungible tokens, are a blockchain application that gained popularity in 2021 after celebrities promoted generative art projects like CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht, etc. NFTs are digital arts that are digitally owned by people and cannot be replicated/used without the owner's prior permission. The NFT market is expected to cross $231 billion by 2030(19), due to which intellectual property protection will be a crucial challenge.
NFTs are mainly attributed to digital arts or things that cannot be easily seen or acquired. For example, The first tweet of Jack Dorsey, i.e., former CEO of Twitter, has been sold at $2.9 million as an NFT.(20)
NFTs are subjected to IP protections such as design patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc. Most NFTs have used copy and display rights, and owners cannot commercially use them. However, some creators are now giving expansive rights of reuse to people. NFT transactions must be secured via copyrights. Without copyright ownership, all the royalties are given to the original creators regardless of who is buying it in the secondary transaction.
Best Practices to Reduce Intellectual Property Liabilities
The Internet has made it easier than ever before to steal ideas and sell products that are identical or even better than those of the original developer. Intellectual property infringement cases are increasing rapidly, so organizations need to protect their intellectual property. Companies need to understand how to protect their IPs more carefully, from creating strong and clearly defined IP policies to staying updated on the latest trends and developments in their field.
Some of the practices to reduce the liabilities for IPs are as follows:
1. Assigning Necessary Agreements
Every inventor should be aware of the ownership issues that are common among people when multiple parties are involved in the creation of intellectual property. Three such issues are no formal agreement before the invention of property, no formal agreement between contractor startup regarding the IP rights, and existing obligations of contract employees to assign rights to the organization.(21)
Inventors must not engage with third-party without assigning important and necessary agreements (Non-disclosure agreements, confidentiality agreements) They must ensure that the members, including collaborators involved in the creation, have their defined document of ownership.
2. Research Before Registering Intellectual Property
Some things do not fall under the category of intellectual property laws, due to which they cannot be connected. Certain common formulas, business operations, etc., cannot be protected; hence, inventors must properly research whether their invention can be protected before launching any new business, brand, or invention.
The inventor or organization should consult with the official or relevant authorities to select a strong and distinctive trademark or patent.
3. Choose the Appropriate Trademark/Patent
The inventors should ensure they are not choosing an inappropriate class or multiple classes while filing for patents and trademarks. They should accurately describe their product and all its features and functionalities while applying. The owners should also consider future product expansions that can fit the intellectual property.
4. Enforcing IP Rights to Protect Intellectual Property
Intellectual property owners should also enforce their rights to protect their intellectual property. They must pay attention to possible infringements and take proper steps to stop unauthorized access. Lawsuits can be filed whenever infringement of the copyrighted work is confirmed. US laws and agencies provide relevant and essential information to the public regarding how to protect and enforce their intellectual property rights. In addition, continuous renewal of trademarks and patents must protect them from duplication and infringement.
5. Avoid Disclosure of IP before Filing for Rights
This is also another essential measure to protect your intellectual property. It is the responsibility of the inventor and organization to avoid disclosing their invention before filing a patent or trademark application. The authorities cannot legally do anything if the product or technology is copied before obtaining a patent or copyright. However, if disclosed, the patent and copyright application must be filed without further delay to avoid any conflict.
In addition, the patent process can take multiple weeks and months, due to which it must be filed as soon as possible. This is because data can be leaked easily in these digital times, and only patent and trademark filing can prevent copying or duplication.
6. Choose the Original With the Consent of the Owner
Intellectual property owners should also use licensed content to create intellectual property. It is not ethical to use random unlicensed content from Google; only licensed content must be used with the owners' consent. The consent of owners is needed to avoid any conflict during registration. Whether it's images, texts, or technology, credits and permission are essential before using any current information for intellectual property creation.
PCT Application for International Trade
International patent-pending status
Patent laws, processes, and duration for approval vary from country to country. A PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) application is an International Patent Application system that allows one to file for patents in a number of countries simultaneously. PCT applications are processed by national offices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The PCT process is automated. PCT covers a broader scope of invention than would otherwise be allowed under local law. The PCT application is then used as proof of priority to obtain priority in other countries, as well as protection on a global basis until the PCT application is abandoned by either party or is withdrawn by WIPO due to non-payment of fees.
Each country has its rules for granting a patent, ranging from months to years. However, a PCT allows patent seekers to file their international patent application at the same time as they file their domestic one and thus avoids delays associated with filing separate applications in different countries.
Overseas Manufacturing and IP Protection
The rise of manufacturing in emerging markets has triggered a global race for IP protection. In recent years, emerging economies have been exporting their expertise and technology to developed economies in a bid to improve productivity and access to foreign markets. However, this has also led to growing concerns over intellectual property rights (IPR) protection for both foreign and domestic businesses.
There are a number of ways companies can protect their IP rights when operating overseas, including establishing trade offices in key markets, registering trademarks, and enforcing contracts.
Other steps to protect IP when manufacturing overseas:
- Conduct an IP audit: This should include identifying any IP that is at risk of infringement, such as patents and trademarks, and assessing the level of risk posed by each one.
- Implement appropriate safeguards: Such as contract provisions requiring licenses to be obtained before using another company’s IP.
- Build strong legal foundations: hire experienced counsels who understand international IP issues.
Data Encryption for protecting intellectual assets in digital form:
Intellectual property stored on digital devices, servers, etc., is prone to cyber-attacks or theft by insiders. Data encryption, including multi-level authentication to access data, can protect against unauthorized access to sensitive data or information that may compromise the integrity of intellectual property.
Employee Training on Intellectual property protection:
Employees need training on the best practices and how to protect intellectual property. Companies can organize workshops to train employees in IT security to protect them from revealing sensitive information to any phishing attempt. Employees should also be trained to understand and identify any manipulative attempt that aims to obtain IP information from employees fraudulently.
Seeking Professional Assistance:
It's important to seek out IP attorneys who are skilled in patent and trademark laws because they can help organizations prevent others from misusing their intellectual property rights. IP is a large and growing field that involves working with a wide range of laws and regulations. Those seeking IP protection should find an experienced attorney who understands the complex issues and best practices for managing IP.
Intellectual Property Protection (IPP): An Ethical Dilemma
While intellectual property rights protect inventors and organizations from illegal usage of their products and services, they also sometimes create an iron wall for critical developments. Some crucial inventions and innovations are often delayed due to patent monopolies that prevent inventors from using some patented technologies or devices that are essential for their invention.
However, those who have worked hard and spent huge on obtaining the patents are left disgruntled if any patent is waived. For instance, the Biden administration's announcement of supporting waiving IPP for COVID-19 vaccines under the WTO's agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) provoked fiery indignation from drug companies.(22) The intellectual property rights waiver that lifted restrictions on vaccine-related patents did not go well with Pharma manufacturers.
Even when IP laws can delay key developments in some fields, they have prevented larger damages by keeping fraudulent products and services in control. 41% of domestic economic activity in the USA in 2019 was directly undertaken by industries that intensively follow IP laws.(23)
Intellectual property rights have become more relevant as social media platforms and user-generated video streaming platforms such as Youtube are taking action against copyright violators to protect original content creators. The growing pleas for the prevention of infringement and the economic value of IP will motivate further developments in the intellectual property protection stream.
- IPRs are legal rights granted by regulatory bodies and the government to ensure that creators, inventors, and businesses reap the benefits of their inventions and original products.
- Protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights is a critical component of international trade policies, including digital trade.
- Patents are the most commonly registered protection method for securing intellectual property.
- Trademarks are also popular for acquiring rights to phrases, words, symbols, etc.
- Copyrights are very useful in authorships for reproducing the work, displaying work publicly, distribution, etc.
- Industrial design refers to the professional practices in which designers design devices, products, services, and objects for people worldwide.
- Another major intellectual property type is Trade secrets which carry some commercial value, including sensitive business information.
- Formal agreements of defined ownership are always crucial for preventing ownership issues.
- IP rights must be essentially enforced by the owner when encountering issues of infringement and piracy.
- Avoid disclosure of IP to prevent the idea from getting stolen or duplicated.
- World intellectual property organization is one of the topmost organizations for monitoring global intellectual property rights.
- The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was formulated to criminalize the production of technology that can be used to gain access to copyrighted works.
- Intellectual property protection is crucial for the pharmaceutical industry in ensuring that medical innovators work to discover new treatments and cures for patients without worrying about infringements.
- Intellectual property rights ensure that the manufacturing sector can protect its brands, products, and designs from replication.
- Intellectual property rights in NFTs are also rapidly being used for acquiring exclusive commercial rights.
The intellectual property field has been going through a rapid shift due to technological advancements and a rising number of innovations. Whether it is a patent, trademark, copyright, or any other intellectual property, the number of people applying for these is growing rapidly. This poses a direct threat to the inventors and IP owners, due to which they should be aware of the practices to reduce liability. Intellectual property protection has become a top priority for most companies, especially in technology.
Many government organizations are working to assist inventors in protecting their intellectual property by providing them with several acts and laws. Anyone who infringes or steals the invention of intellectual property owners can enforce their rights through these acts. In addition, intellectual property protection rights are also assisting different industrial sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, IT, manufacturing, etc., in acquiring desired growth.