After studying this chapter, you should have an understanding of
• the nature of intellectual property
• the rights that attach to intellectual property
• how intellectual property is acquired
• how to protect the intellectual property assets of an organization
Understand what is included in each category of intellectual property: patents, industrial designs, trademarks, copyrights, and confidential information (pages 424–447)
Understand when protection arises for each category (pages 424–447)
Recognize how long protection lasts (pages 424–447)
Understand the rights of the owners of intellectual property (pages 447–448)
Understand how business can protect intellectual property from abuse (page 448)
Understand how owners can enforce their ownership rights (pages 448–452)
The term “intellectual property” is used to describe the results of an intellectual or a creative process. The term is also used to describe the rights people have or acquire in ideas and in the ways they express those ideas. The main categories of intellectual property rights are patents, industrial designs, trademarks, copyrights, and confidential information. The rights that attach to each category vary but generally encompass the right to use and the right to exclude others from using.
There is considerable overlap between the various categories of intellectual property. It is possible for more than one area of intellectual property law to protect different aspects of a single product or process. As well, there may be alternatives for protecting a single product. For example, an invention may qualify for patent protection, or the invention can be kept secret through the mechanism of a trade secret. Patent protection provides a monopoly for a period of time, but the price of the monopoly is the requirement to disclose the invention. A trade secret is just that—a secret. Once disclosure occurs, there is no protection. The ornamentation of a product subject to patent protection may receive industrial design protection. Businesses acquire intellectual property in a number of ways. Much intellectual property is created in-house by employees, but it can also be bought or acquired through a licensing agreement. Intellectual property, like other business assets, must be protected. An effective intellectual property policy should encompass its acquisition and proper use. Failure to acquire and maintain intellectual property rights may result in missed opportunities and losses for the business. In some cases, intellectual property rights ultimately may need to be protected by bringing legal action against infringers.
© 2014 Nelson Education Limited
Study Guide to accompany Canadian Business and the Law, 5th edition
Use this outline to prepare a complete set of notes for this chapter.
Creation of Intellectual Property Rights—page 425
Exclusions from patent protection _______________________________________
Requirements for patentability __________________________________________
Patent protection _____________________________________________________
Patent application ____________________________________________________
Industrial Designs—page 432