What Is Intellectual Property Rights & Why You Should Care

We are moving from the industrial age to the intellectual age. Living in the intellectual age, we see the rise of creative industries.

Theatre, visual arts, cinema, TV, radio, music, publishing, computer games, new media, architecture, design, fashion, advertising, applied arts and innovations are all the more identifiable components creative industries.

We have seen how a good story can be given a new lease of life when it is adapted to different mediums. For example, a story starts its journey in publication, it may then get adapted to stage, screen or computer games. Design, fashion and innovation will lead to new products and new trends.

The creative industries are less tied to traditional assets like land, capital and intensive labour.  Instead what you need is creativity, originality and ideas.

However ideas alone do not translate to business success. In my years of practice, I have noticed that many people share a common misconception that their ideas can be protected. Ideas are concepts that exist in the mind. As long as it exists only in the mind, an idea cannot be protected. An idea has to be expressed in a tangible form for an intellectual property (“IP”) to be created.

Although the creation of IPR does not protect your ideas totally, it gives you protection to some extent. The 4 main types of IPR are copyright, trademark, patent and confidential information.

Types Of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Copyright in itself does not protect the idea but it protects the expression of the idea. Copyright protects the expression of the idea in tangible form like in writing, a recording, drawing or a computer program.

Trademarks are used to protect your brand, and to distinguish the products and services that you provide from your competitors. Trademarks also serve to protect the goodwill that your business have generated from the resources that are invested.

Patent is used by an inventor to claim ownership of an invention. The invention must be novel and cannot be obvious to industry peers.

Confidential Information is created by confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements. This IP does not protect the idea but can give you a cause of action against someone who steals your ideas after signing the agreement.

Creating the IP is only the first step. An IP in itself has little value. They only attain value by being successfully exploited. Some common forms of commercial exploitation are turning IPs into commercial products, licensing or an outright sale.  When a business successfully exploits its portfolio of IPs, the business can generate income, create employment and hopefully, change the way we live and work. With the proper exploitation of IPs, we can witness how creativity breathes new life to production, commerce and entertainment.