What Is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property is a term that relates to any kind of creation or idea. It is somewhat elusive. It can be any sort of invention, commercial symbol (such as a logos), or creations of an artistic nature. All of these things are protected under the law in the same way that personal property is connected. Protections for intellectual property fall under copyright laws, trademarks, and patents. The creator, who is the person who holds the rights to the idea, is entitled not only to gain profit from his or her idea, but also to control how and by whom that information is used. Therefore, laws are made to protect the creator and enable him or her to go public with the idea at the same time. Congress received the power to regulate copyright issues in the Copyright Act of 1976. People who violate copyright laws can be prosecuted civilly and/or criminally.
The laws that protect intellectual property are there to protect and credit the hard work of the creator since the creation, whatever it may be, is in all likelihood, the result of extensive development and research by an individual or a group. Technological inventions, for instance, take many years of prototypes. Scientific discoveries result from many years of study. Literary and artistic creations come about after much effort.
Why Is Protecting Intellectual Property Becoming More Difficult?
There have been many recent problems with managing intellectual property. The Internet is making it very hard to control this point of law and protect the creators. People can now generate exact replicas of originals and transmit them worldwide. An excellent example of this is in the music business. The ease with which someone can digitally copy music for free and then distribute it is making it more difficult for vocal artists to make a living selling their recordings. The problems caused by the Internet have been labeled the ''cyberlaw dilemma,'' Because of past IP piracy, e-commerce, and globalization, it is expected that increased standardization of international IP laws will be enacted. As a result of this, there are many people making a career in IP law, including lawyers and paralegals.
What Kind of Jobs Deal with Intellectual Property?
Jobs in this area can be very interesting. Most jobs are related to law and require some degree of legal training with a specialty in IP law. This field of intellectual property covers a vast range of areas including technology, art, literature, industrial designs, genetic engineering, plant varieties, map symbols, and even food. There are jobs that specialize in working with patents, copyrights, trademarks, and even trade secrets. There are many jobs specific to IP management. If you are looking to work in this field, there are many opportunities and they are growing.
What Can an IP Manager or Consultant Do for My Business?
If you own a business or you are the creator of an idea, an IP management advisor can help you find the best ways to protect your intellectual property against infringement by others. They will go to court if they have to in order to defend your case. The advisor will make sure that you have all the protection you need to have the sole rights to use your creation, manufacture it, and sell it. The advisor will help guarantee that others cannot use your idea without your permission. In addition, the advisor will show you ways to earn royalties by licensing your idea or perhaps make a profit from selling the idea outright. Furthermore, an IP advisor can help also you form strategic alliances which may benefit your business overall.
What Is the Difference between Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, and Trade Secrets?
Patents were originally created to encourage the progress of science. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grant these. A patent protects the owner and gives him or her the right to exclude others from making or selling the patented invention in the U.S. for seventeen years from the date of the patent.
Copyright protection has to do with musical, literary, dramatic, audiovisual, computer program expression, and other kinds of works that have authorship. Copyright protection for works begins at the time the work is first written down or recorded. This copyright lasts for the life of the author, plus fifty years after that.
Trademarks are words, groups of words, or logos connected with a product. They distinguish a particular product from others. Companies use trademarks in the sale of their merchandise.
Trade secrets are ideas that have business or commercial value because they are not generally known. In business, competitors may be tempted to steal one another's ideas and methods. This is called industrial espionage. Trade secret protection is a shield against this.
- See Top 10 Reasons Most Law Firms Have No Idea How to Hire and Evaluate Patent Attorneys for more information.