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Intellectual Property – An Introduction

Intellectual Property, by its very nature, suggests a property that is the result of the expenditure of human intellect. Unlike other forms of property, intellectual property exists in intangible form and most commonly refers to inventions, creations, etc., which have commercial or artistic value. Like any other property, intellectual property is also an asset, which can be commercially dealt with, i.e., it can be purchased, sold, licensed, assigned, transferred, leased, etc. The owners of intellectual property exercise complete control over it, just like any other piece of jewelry or land.

The intellectual property law affords maximum protection against theft or misuse of the intellectual property belonging to others. The owner of intellectual property holds it against the world at large and anyone seeking to dispossess the owner of their rights is prevented by different legislations governing intellectual property.

Kinds of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property entails all those creations that are the result of the expenditure of intellect. The ingenuity and imagination of human brain must be reflected in the final product in order to qualify as intellectual property. The expenditure of human intellect is reflected in artistic creations, pharmaceutical formulae, or a production methodology.

Usually, bestowing intellectual property rights on an individual create legal monopolies, which are otherwise, avoided by most government authorities. This is the reason why intellectual property was one of the contentious points in the WTO negotiations. The developing and underdeveloped countries can ill-afford to pay huge sums as royalty to the multinational pharmaceutical companies that hold patents and other rights against life saving and other vital drugs.

The broader kinds of intellectual property include patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Besides, there are trade secrets, design rights, geographical origins, etc. that strive to provide maximum protection to the owners of intellectual property.

Objectives of Intellectual Property

The prime objective of intellectual property is to encourage the creators and inventors of intellectual works by giving them financial incentives for their creations and inventions. With the grant of rights under various intellectual property laws, the owners of intellectual property can commercially exploit these rights and grant licenses and even sell their creations to third parties. The laws protecting the intellectual creations prevent any entity from stealing or copying them from the owner of such property. Therefore, by protecting the intellectual property from unauthorized use or access, the government is sending the message across to the society at large to the effect that “we want to promote a society that provides fertile nurturing ground for inventors and creators, so that the benefits of their creations and inventions can be enjoyed by the entire society.”

Had the government authorities failed to protect their intellectual property, the inventors might not have invested so much time and energies in researching, experimenting and developing a novel creation or improving the existing technologies that can benefit a major section of society. It is the incentives that invigorate the intellectually brilliant individuals and business houses to continually put in more efforts and establish new horizons in their respective fields.

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