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The relevance of Intellectual Property Rights in Business?

‘Business’ and ‘Intellectual Property’ are two closely knit terms. In fact, business is a process. The process involves ingredients, many of which form a part of intellectual property. Let us understand it in simple words. The first step of business creation involves innovation, designing, operating brands for products and services, trade names etc. Further, during the business development phase when the product or service is ready to be delivered, patents, trademarks, copyrights etc. become important which also form a part of IPR.

Now that you have understood the close relationship between the two, it is important to realize that utilisation of IP assets in business strategy is vital for the success of a business. It is a competitive environment and one needs to protect the manufacturing secrets, designs etc. to retain the customer’s loyalty and survive the entrepreneurial market. The knowledge of IP assets is necessary for the evolution of a product or service pertaining to the customer’s needs.

Types of Intellectual Property Rights

  1. Patents – They are meant for inventions. The inventor is given exclusive right on its product. Nobody else is allowed to produce the same product or use the same process for production, without the permission of the inventor. Such right is given for a limited period and granted only if the invention is capable of industrial application and involves an inventive step.

  2. Trademarks–It is the unique identification of a specific enterprise or person producing or providing a product or service.

  3. Industrial Designs–These can be protected if nothing like them have been previously made available to the public. Designs having ‘individual character’ can be registered to protect them being copied by other businesses.

  4. Trade secrets or confidential information – It is the most valuable asset of a business. For instance, a information on new product design, marketing strategy or a software code can be indigenous to an enterprise.

  5. Copyright–It is relevant to literary, musical, artistic, dramatic works etc. and involves original databases, films, programmes, broadcasts, sound recordings and typographical arrangements of published editions. Copyright is prevented from being copied or certain other acts.

  6. Database rights–Usually, it is needed when the contents of a database are prepared, obtained or verified at high investments. Under database rights, nobody can extract or re-utilise all or a part of the contents of the database unless authorised by the owner of the database.

An understanding of intellectual property rights helps businesses to protect their confidential assets and incorporate the planning accordingly. Businesses promote innovations making huge investments and patent portfolio is quintessential to ensure the competitiveness of innovation. IPR varies from country to country, hence a prior knowledge of IP norms is important to avoid any dispute and infringement of the company’s image among customers and corporate channels.

To sum up, an enterprise should timely evaluate its existing intellectual property to be in line with business’ objectives. It can open new avenues to expand their product range and create new benchmarks.

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