Definition - Intellectual Property
Area of Law: Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property refers to creations of the mind such as inventions, literary and artistic works and symbols, images, logos, names and designs used in commerce, for which a set of exclusive rights are recognised.

Intellectual Property can be viewed in distinct categories - industrial property and Copyright.

Industrial property includes inventions (discoveries and patents), trademarks, industrial designs and geographic indications of source.

Copyright includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems, plays, films, musical works, drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures and architectural designs.

Some of the rights associated with Copyright are those of performing artists in their performances, producers of music in their recordings and those of broadcasters of radio and television programmes.

Although the legal principles concerning Intellectual Property have evolved over many centuries the term itself was not used until the late 19th century and only entered widespread use in the late 20th century.

The exclusive rights assigned to the owners of Intellectual Property allow them to benefit financially and create an environment where creativity and innovation are encouraged.

The vast majority of modern economies are based upon the wealth created by companies centred on the ownership of Intellectual Property.

The concept of Intellectual Property and the protections afforded by the laws associated with it have many critics who point to their moral misgivings and the harm caused by 'Intellectual Monopolies'.

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Intellectual Property Specialists