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The term intellectual property (IP) or IP rights refers to the protection of ideas and creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. Intellectual property denotes the specific legal rights or exclusive rights, which authors, inventors and other IP holders may hold and exercise, and not the intellectual work itself. IP rights may be protected by law in the same way as any other form of property and can generally be transferred, licensed, or mortgaged to third parties.

1. Types of Intellectual Property  

Intellectual property is divided into two categories: copyright and industrial property.

Copyright and Related Rights

Includes literary works such as books, novels, poems, plays, films, performances, recordings, musical works, and artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, architectural designs and software. Copyright and Related rights provide the holder the exclusive right to control reproduction or adaptation of such works for a certain period of time. Copyright and Related rights do not require registration in order to be enforced.

Includes trademarks, patents, industrial designs, geographical indications and others. These IP rights should basically be registered in order to be enforced. Relevant applications are filed with the national Industrial Property Office (IPO) or the office, department or ministry where industrial property is registered in a particular jurisdiction. An application is usually examined, published in the official gazette for public inspection upon acceptance, and then registered in case there were no objections or oppositions. Exclusive rights are obtained from the filing date or priority date if priority is claimed (refer to "Claiming Priority Rights").

a. Trademarks
A trademark is a distinctive sign which identifies certain goods or services as those produced or provided by a specific person or enterprise. Trademarks are applied for specific goods and services. All goods and services have been locally and internationally divided among classes. Thus, depending on the goods or services for which the applicant wishes to protect the proposed trademarks, applications are filed in respect of international classes or local classes and sub-classes. Some jurisdictions allow for the registration of multi-class applications, while in others only single-class applications may be filed. 

i. Trademark Types
Any distinguishing feature may be registered as a trademark. A trademark could be a word mark (one or a combination of words, letters, and numerals - it could even be a phrase/slogan), a device mark (consists of drawings, designs, logos or symbols) or a combination of both: a word and device mark. A trademark may even be a color (color mark), a sound (sound mark) or a smell (smell mark).

The following types of trademarks may also be filed:

A three-dimensional mark
A mark with a three-dimensional form, such as the shape or packaging of goods.

A series mark
A mark that consists of two or more marks similar in their substantial elements with minor differences (colors, additional letters or characters, etc.) that do not have a major effect on the basic trademark. A series mark can also be several versions of the same mark in different colors, or the same mark with one version in black and white and the other(s) in specific colors.

A collective mark
A mark that indicates the individual source of the goods or services. A collective mark is owned by an organization (such as an association), whose members use it to identify themselves with a level of quality or accuracy, geographical origin, or other characteristics set by the organization. A collective mark can be used by a variety of traders, rather than just one, provided that the traders belong to the association.

A certification mark
A mark that indicates that the products or services of the company bearing the certification mark adhere to all the standards of an active certification listing that has been issued by an organization that is nationally accredited for service or product certification. The applicant uses the certifier's mark to indicate eligibility of the products or services for use in bounding the origin, material, mode of manufacture of products, mode of performance of services, quality, accuracy and other characteristics of products or services. 


ii. Related Matters

Trade Dress
Trade dress refers to characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging (or even the facade of a building such as a restaurant) that may be registered and protected from being used by competitors in the manner of a trademark.

Claiming Colors
Colors may be claimed to further distinguish a trademark. However, it should be noted that claiming specific colors somewhat restricts the protection of the mark to these colors. Whereas, filing in black and white provides broader protection as it protects the mark in any color or combination of colors. In jurisdictions where series marks are registrable, the local office may advise a client interested in claiming colors to file a series application consisting of the mark in colors and the mark in black and white, where possible.

The T symbol may be used when trademark rights are claimed in relation to a mark, but the mark has not been registered with the government trademarks office of a particular jurisdiction, while the ® is used to indicate that the mark has been registered. It is not mandatory to use either symbol. However, in various jurisdictions it is unlawful to use the ® symbol in association with a mark when that mark is not registered.

Claiming Priority Rights
According to the Paris Convention, when filing an application, the applicant may claim priority rights from his home registration or another foreign registration within six (6) months from the filing date of his home or foreign registration. Such a convention application will obtain protection from the filing date of the earlier application. The duration of the trademark will be calculated from the filing date of the national application and not the home or foreign registration. 


iii. Scope of Protection
Intellectual property laws, regulations and requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another, such that the acquisition, registration, or enforcement of IP rights is pursued separately in each jurisdiction of interest. Nevertheless, there have been many international IP protection treaties introducing new more harmonious international laws (such as the Paris Convention, the Patent Law Treaty, and the Nice Classification Agreement) and facilitating the filing, registration or enforcement of IP rights in more than one jurisdiction (such as the Madrid Agreement for trademarks, the Hague Agreement for designs, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty). Different intellectual property laws are designed to protect different forms of intangible subject matter.

A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it in order to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment under a license agreement. The period of protection varies from one jurisdiction to another and is usually calculated from the filing date. A trademark can be renewed indefinitely for equal intervals of time.

iv. Regional Registration
A trademark (and a design) may also be granted by a regional trademark office that provides protection in a number of countries, such as the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). Registration under regional systems, allows trademarks to be obtained in all member countries without having to prosecute applications in all of those countries. The trademark is registered and enforced in each of the relevant countries in accordance with the law of that country. 


iv. International Registration
The MADRID Agreement concerning the International Registration of Trademarks was concluded on April 14, 1891 and the Madrid Protocol (a more flexible version of the agreement) was concluded on June 28, 1989. Fifty six (56) states have joined the Agreement and sixty nine (69) states have joined the Protocol so far. To date, Algeria and Sudan have joined the Madrid Agreement; Bahrain has joined the Madrid Protocol; whereas, Cyprus, Egypt, Morocco and Syria have joined both the Agreement and Protocol.

Both systems allow a trademark owner to obtain trademark protection in any or all member states by filing a single application with one set of fees, make any changes (of name or address and ownership), and renew registration across jurisdictions of interest through a single administrative process. The applicant should be a national or resident of one of the member states and should base the international application on a national registration.

b. Patents  

A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem.

A patent that has already been published or disclosed loses novelty and, thus, may not be registered as a patent. In some jurisdictions, there are other forms of the registration of a disclosed patent

i. Other Patent Registrations
In some jurisdictions, one or more of the following different patent types may be filed:

Divisional Patent
A patent application which contains matter from a previously-filed application: the "parent" application. Divisional applications are generally used in cases where the parent application lacks unity of invention; that is, the parent application describes more than one invention and the applicant is required to split the parent into one or more divisional applications each claiming only a single invention. Although a divisional application is filed later than the parent application, it may retain its parent's filing date, and will generally claim the same priority.

Patent of Addition (or Continuation Patent)

A patent that is directly associated to another patent: the "parent" patent. It is a new application restricted to the improvement or modification of the invention in the parent patent. While a patent of addition can be for one improvement or addition only, there is no restriction on the number of patents of addition that one can have. Its term is the same as the parent patent and only one set of maintenance fees is paid on the anniversary of the grant date of the parent patent. 

Patent of Importation
A patent application based on a foreign granted patent and is valid for the remaining term of the basic patent. The remaining annuities are payable on the anniversary of the filing date of the importation patent (national patent).

ii. Related Matters

Nominal working
In some countries it is required that a patent is worked. If the patent is not exploited by the patentee within a specified interval of time the patent will be subject to compulsory licensing under the provisions of the law.

Claiming Priority Rights
In accordance with the rules and regulations of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, when filing an application, the applicant may claim priority rights from his home registration or any other previously filed foreign registration within twelve (12) months from the filing date of the home or foreign registration. Such a convention application will obtain protection from the filing date of the earlier application. The earlier effective filing date reduces the number of prior art disclosures, thus increasing the likelihood of obtaining a patent.

The duration of the patent will be calculated as usual; that is, from the current filing date and not that of the home or foreign registration.

iii. Scope of Protection
A patent is made available for public inspection. However, the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the patent owner's consent. The patent owner may give permission to, or license, other parties to use the invention on mutually agreed terms. The owner may also sell the right to the invention to someone else, who will then become the new owner of the patent. Once a patent expires, the protection ends, and an invention enters the public domain, that is, the owner no longer holds exclusive rights to the invention, which becomes available to commercial exploitation by others.

In theory, patents are granted for one fixed term, generally 20 years, that involves payment of annuities.

iv. Regional Registration
A patent may also be granted by a regional patent office that provides protection in a number of countries, such as the European Patent Office, the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC patent registration system is the first regional intellectual property registration system of its kind in the Arab world. It is designed to unify patent registration and protection in the jurisdictions covered by the six member states of the GCC: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The GCC patent law was first introduced in the year 1987. Accordingly, the Patent Office of the GCC started its operations from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 3, 1998. Protection of the GCC patent extends to all GCC member states via one centralized filing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Registration under regional systems, allows patents to be obtained in all member countries without having to prosecute applications in all of those countries; thus, reducing procedure complexity and cost. The patent is granted and enforced in each of the relevant countries in accordance with the law of that country.

v. International Registration
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions internationally. Any resident or national of a contracting state of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) may file, at the International Bureau of WIPO, one application and request protection in as many signatory states as required. This single filing results in a single search accompanied with a written opinion (and optionally a preliminary examination), after which the application enters the national phases (within 30 or 31 months from the priority date), where the applicant files respective national applications in jurisdictions where protection is sought. Thus, examination (if provided by national law) and grant procedures are handled by the relevant national or regional authorities of the jurisdictions designated by the applicant. By obtaining patents through the PCT, the applicant retains the option of filing in a wide range of countries and defers the cost of a large number of applications.

c. Industrial Designs
Industrial design rights are intellectual property rights that protect the visual design of objects that are not totally functional. An industrial design consists of the creation of a shape, configuration or composition of pattern or color, or combination of pattern and color in three dimensional form containing artistic value. An industrial design can be a two- or three-dimensional pattern used to produce a product, industrial commodity or handicraft. In some jurisdictions one design application can incorporate many relevant designs. The number of designs that may be filed in the same application and whether proposed designs are registrable as one application is determined by the country law. To file a design application, photos of the design(s) from three perspectives along with brief illustrations of the design(s) are required.

An international design registration can be filed under the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs. An applicant can file an international deposit, with WIPO or with the national office in a country party to the treaty, designating as many member countries of the treaty as desired. 

d. Geographical Indications
A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products, which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (for example: a town, region, or country). The use of a GI may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin.

In many countries the protection afforded to geographical indications by law is similar to the protection afforded to trademarks, and in particular, certification marks. Geographical indications law restricts the use of the GI for the purpose of identifying a particular type of product, unless the product or its constitute materials originate from a particular area or meet certain standards. There are usually prohibitions against registration of a trademark which constitutes a geographical indication. However, in countries that do not specifically recognize GIs, regional trade associations may implement them in terms of certification marks.

Other Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property rights also include: utility models, layout designs (topographies) of integrated circuits, domain names, plant variety (or plant breeders' rights), trade secrets, traditional knowledge, and moral rights.

Utility Models
A utility model is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which allows the right holder to prevent others from commercially using the protected invention, without his authorization, for a limited period of time. In general, a utility model is similar to a patent but usually has a shorter term, often 6 or 10 years, and less stringent patentability requirements. In fact, utility models are sometimes referred to as "petty patents" or "innovation patents". 


Layout Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits
An Integrated Circuit is a product, in its final form or an intermediate form, in which the elements, at least one of which is an active element, and some or all of the interconnections are integrally formed in and/or on a piece of material and which is intended to perform an electronic function. A Layout Design (Topography) is defined as the three-dimensional disposition, however expressed, of the elements, at least one of which is an active element, and of some or all of the interconnections of an integrated circuit.

The protection of layout designs (topographies) of integrated circuits applies to layout designs that are original in the sense that they are the result of their creators' own intellectual effort and are not common among creators of layout designs and manufacturers of integrated circuits at the time of their creation.

Domain Name
A domain name is a name associated with a particular computer online. In the domain name, .com is the top-level domain ("TLD"), sabaip is the second-level domain name, and www is a sub-domain. With the prevalence of the internet as a medium of commerce, protection, registration, and assignment of domain names have become an important component of an effective intellectual property management and enforcement strategy.

Plant Variety
Plant Variety rights, also known as Plant Breeders' rights, are intellectual property rights granted to the breeder of a new variety of plant. These laws typically grant the plant breeder control of the seed of a new variety and the right to collect royalties for a number of years. 

Trade Secrets
A trade secret, also known as "confidential information or undisclosed information", is an item of confidential information concerning the commercial practices or proprietary knowledge of a business. A trade secret may be a formula, practice, process, design, instrument, pattern, or compilation of information used by a business to obtain an advantage over competitors within the same industry or profession.

The protection of trade secrets must apply to information that is secret, that has commercial value because it is secret and that has been subject to reasonable steps to keep it secret. The protection of a trade secret does not require undisclosed information to be treated as a form of property, but it does require that a person lawfully in control of such information must have the possibility of preventing it from being disclosed to, acquired by, or used by others without his or her consent in a manner contrary to honest commercial practices. Trade secret protection can, in principle, extend indefinitely and in this respect offers an advantage over patent protection, which lasts only for a specifically delimited period.

Traditional Knowledge
Traditional knowledge generally refers to the matured long-standing traditions and practices of certain regional communities. Traditional knowledge also encompasses the wisdom, knowledge, and teachings of these communities. Some forms of traditional knowledge are expressed through stories, legends, folklore, rituals, songs, and even laws. Other forms of traditional knowledge are often expressed through different means.

In general, there are two main types of intellectual property protection of traditional knowledge: defensive and protective. Protection of traditional knowledge ensures that intellectual property rights over traditional knowledge are not given to parties other than the customary rights holders and empower holders to protect and promote their traditional knowledge.
Moral Rights
Moral rights are rights of creators of copyrighted works generally recognized in civil law jurisdictions. Moral rights include the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudonymously, and the right to the integrity of the work, that is, it cannot be distorted or otherwise mutilated. Anything else that may detract from the artist's relationship with the work even after it leaves the artist's possession or ownership may bring these moral rights into play. Moral rights are distinct from any economic rights tied to copyright, thus even if an artist has assigned his or her rights to a work to a third party he or she still maintains the moral rights to the work.

2. Scope of protection
Intellectual property laws, regulations and requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another, such that the acquisition, registration, or enforcement of IP rights is pursued separately in each jurisdiction of interest. Nevertheless, there have been many international IP protection treaties introducing new more harmonious international laws (such as the Paris Convention, the Patent Law Treaty, and the Nice Classification Agreement) and facilitating the filing, registration or enforcement of IP rights in more than one jurisdiction (such as the Madrid Agreement for trademarks, the Hague Agreement for designs, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty). Different intellectual property laws are designed to protect different forms of intangible subject matter.

Although IP rights may be sought separately in each jurisdiction, regionally, or globally through the special systems mentioned above, it is currently not possible to file and obtain a single registration which will automatically apply around the world as the effect of these systems only influences signatory countries.

Also, some countries do not allow the registration of certain types of non-conventional industrial property rights. For example, series marks and patents of importation may not be registered in a certain country, even though trademarks and patents may be registered in this country.

It should also be noted that more than one type of IP right may provide protection to the same article. For example, a particular design of a bottle may qualify for copyright protection as a sculpture or for trademark protection if it is used to identify the goods or services of a company. The appearance of the bottle is also protectable as a trade dress. Titles and character names from books or movies may also be protectable as trademarks while the works from which they are drawn may qualify for copyright protection as a whole. Choosing the right type of protection depends on the benefits and protection required, keeping in mind that patents and copyrights eventually expire into the public domain but trademarks do not. 

3. Licensing of IP rights
The holder of an intellectual property right may license the use of his right, for a return (through the payment of royalties), allowing the licensee to copy software, use a trademark or character in production or trade, or use a patented invention without fear of a claim of intellectual property infringement brought by the licensor (the owner).

A license under intellectual property is limited to a specific jurisdiction and valid for a particular period of time in order to protect the licensor should the value of the license increase, or market conditions change.

Compulsory Licensing
In a compulsory license, the government forces the holder of a patent, copyright, or other IP right to grant use to the state or others. The holder usually receives royalties under a compulsory license.

A compulsory copyright license is an exception to copyright law. It is usually used as an attempt by the government to correct a market failure. Compulsory licenses may also be established as purchase methods or strong market influences in the entertainment industry, such as playing popular music on a radio station or using broadcasted audiovisual works such as television shows in cable television systems.

As for patents, compulsory licenses may be issued in specific situations, after meeting certain requirements, which may be waived in cases of national emergency or extreme urgency. The principal requirement for the issue of a compulsory license is that all attempts to obtain a license under reasonable commercial terms have failed over a reasonable period of time. Specific situations in which compulsory licenses may be issued are set out in the legislation of each patent system and vary between systems. Some examples of situations in which a compulsory license may be granted include lack of working over an extended period in the jurisdiction of the patent, inventions funded by the government, failure or inability of a patentee to meet a demand for a patented product and where the refusal to grant a license leads to the inability to exploit an important technological advance, or to exploit a further patent. For example, drug companies estimate future demand for their patented drugs and vaccines, and produce accordingly. However, the number of victims in a flu pandemic (such as bird flu) or anthrax attack could exceed any reasonable prediction, and for the original maker to increase production could itself be a lengthy process. The issue of compulsory licenses allows the number of manufacturers to be increased, thereby allowing greater volumes of supplies to be manufactured. 

IP rights are enforced by courts of law. An IP right holder may send a cease-and-desist letter to the infringers requesting that they stop use of his IP right. In case an amicable agreement is not reached, the IP right owner will file a court case. Civil remedies and criminal sanctions apply against acts of piracy and infringement, namely the award of damages to the IP owner, destruction of fake goods, packages, copies and sometimes even equipments serving to manufacture the same. Pirates or infringers are also punished by means of penalties and imprisonment.

The extent, however, to which a trademark owner may prevent unauthorized use of trademarks which are the same as or similar to its trademark depends on various factors such as whether its trademark is registered, the similarity of the trademarks involved, the similarity of the products and services involved, and whether the owner's trademark is well known.

If a trademark has not been registered, some jurisdictions (especially Common Law countries) offer protection for the business reputation or goodwill or for long use of the mark. Unregistered marks may be enforced by way of a lawsuit for passing off (the misrepresentation of one's reputation and goodwill damage). Passing off may provide a remedy in a scenario where a business has been trading under an unregistered trademark for many years, and a rival business starts using the same or a similar mark.

If a trademark has been registered, then it is much easier for the trademark owner to demonstrate its trademark rights and to enforce these rights through an infringement action. Unauthorized use of a registered trademark need not be intentional (in bad faith) in order for infringement to occur, although damages in an infringement lawsuit will generally be greater if there was an intention to deceive.

For trademarks which are considered to be well known, infringing use may occur when the mark is used for goods or services which are not the same as or similar to the goods or services in relation to which the owner's mark is registered

5. Website References
1.What is Intellectual Property (
2.Trademark FAQs (
3.Trademarks (
4. Information about IP (
5. United States Patent and Trademark Office (
6. Information about industrial design rights (
7. What is Copyright? (
8. What is Intellectual Property? (


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