What is Intellectual Property?

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The colloquial description of intellectual property is that it comprises all those things that emanate from the exercise of the human mind, such as ideas, inventions, poems, designs, music, etc. Intellectual property is therefore about creative ideas. Dissemination of these ideas benefits society and stimulates further creative activity. However, once ideas have been made public they can be copied by others. If their originators are to control and obtain remuneration from their use they can only do so within a secure legal framework, which creates property rights in those ideas.

The legal description of intellectual property focuses upon the legal property rights, which are enjoyed and can be asserted in the produce of the mind. The creation of such rights is the basis of all intellectual property law: patent law for the protection of inventions; copyright law for the protection of literature, music, art, films, sound recordings and broadcasts; as well as industrial design and trade mark law.

Intellectual property can be considered to comprise two main branches:

  1. Industrial property, chiefly in Patent for inventions, Trade Mark and industrial Design.
  2. Copyright, chiefly in literacy, musical, artistic, photographic and audio- visual works.