Intellectual property protection can be combined with licensing to create a wide range of strategic options for maximising the value or usefulness of these key assets. As such, intellectual property, when used in tandem with suitable license, can be viewed as providing creators and innovators with a degree of control of their main value propositions.
Intellectual property comes in many forms, including patents, trademarks, copyright, registered designs, knowhow, database rights and integrated circuit topography rights. Each form of intellectual property can cover different areas, have its own merits and disadvantages, and the rules for each can vary from simple to complex. Some forms of intellectual property even exist automatically and for free.
The digital community is well aware of the many forms of intellectual property and successfully implements schemes to capture and protect them .For an instance, copyright has long been a central pillar of protection for software code and many will know how to identify and capture copyrighted code in a way that allows the copyright in it to be successfully enforced.
Intellectual property can be layered to combine the benefits. For example, copyright provides a degree of protection for computer software code and automatically exists when the code is tangibly fixed and set down. However, the protection afforded by it is generally not as strong as patent protection, because copyright is only infringed by copying rather than independent creation which can be difficult to prove.
Also, copyright is intended to cover an expression of an idea rather than the idea itself. As such copyright protection generally applies to the code, while patent protection apply more broadly to the fundamental new ideas and concepts that may be behind a new piece of software.
Branding or building a community or franchise is also widely used in the digital field. In this respect, trademarks are widely used to help protect the identifies and values of many entities from commercially successful products to open source communities.
Apart from trademarks and copyright, intellectual property takes a variety of forms, many of which are less well under stood. For example, in Europe design registration can be used to protect visually appealing aspects of digital design, which is useful if you have revised a great looking user interface, games characters, icons or indeed any product that applies on graphic design or attractive visuals.
Database rights are among the lesser known forms of intellectual property, but can be exceedingly valuable and could apply if there has been a “substantial investment” in obtaining, verifying or presenting the content of a database.
Patent are among fre better known forms of intellectual property and can be particularly beneficial because they can cover wide ranging technical concepts, including features of products and methods of making, installing and using.
Given the rapid speed of digital change, it is increasingly important to have a strategy to make the most of our intellectual property rights preserve and protected.
Intellectual property thus can help to protect many of these mentioned key value propositions and be of significant value. It can swing the balance of reward from the copiers to the creators and innovators.
Written By: Sanjeev Das