Now unless you have already dedicated a little bit of time to learning about it the likelihood is that you don’t know very much about intellectual property laws. This is actually an important area for businesses to understand because if you infringe on a piece of intellectual property the consequences can be pretty severe. To help you understand this a little better and to make sure that you can stay within the confines of the law when it comes to intellectual property rights, we spoke to the team of experts at TME Enterprises to explain things a little further.
Why They Exist?
In a nutshell these laws and rights exist in order to protect the creator of something, someone who has designed or created something unique, so that nobody else can use it unless they have first given permission.
The Break Down
Intellectual property rights fall into a number of different categories and here are the main ones which you need to try and understand if you are running a business.
Trademarks – These are in place to protect logos and/or symbols which have been created in order for a company to use as a way of identifying themselves. Think of the McDonalds golden arches for example, these are a key way of identifying McDonalds and they cannot be used by anyone else.
Patent – Someone who invent new products, new parts for new mechanisms will apply for a patent which registers them as they inventor. Once apparent is given nobody will be able to use that invention without the authority of the inventor.
Copyright – Copyright looks after artistic creations such as books, music, scripts or poetry. Wholesale copying of this kind of material is not allowed and you will face legal action if you do. This can sometimes be a bit of a grey area, especially in music where rhythms and tones may sound the same.
Unfair Competition – This act was passed in order to prevent companies from gaining an advantage over other businesses through unfair or illicit behavior. This can include behaviors like infringing copyrights, misrepresentation of a person or false advertising.
Trade Secrets – Companies will always have exclusive rights to strategies, formulas, designs, procedures and systems which have been created within the business and they cannot be used by other businesses who have obtained this information without the business’ approval. The responsibility is of course on every business to protect such information but if they have failed to do so they are protected by law.
Publicity Rights – These rights are to protect individuals from having their likeness, image or personality used by a business for profit. Companies must get authorization from a person before they use their image or likeness and failure to do so will result in legal action.
Make sure that you understand these rights whenever you are making business decisions in order to avoid any unwanted legal issues.