'Intellectual property rights represent one of the most valuable commercial assets in modern society. But also one of the most problematic for a company to protect.' Discuss.

Essay by vika1000 April 2004

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Intellectual property is an area of law, "which allows people to own their creativity and innovation in the same way that they can own physical property." Intellectual property rights provide people with control over ideas or information embodied in a valuable form of protection. It plays a major part in our modern business environment and becomes an increasingly valuable asset for establishing competitive advantage in all types of business. Currently many businesses dedicate as much attention to their ability to innovate, their strategy and creativity as they dedicate to their financial assets. This explains why businesses are so keen to protect these assets. Company, like IBM for example, was granted around 2,800 patents in year 2000. The company now owns more that 19,000 US patents and 34,000 all over the world, which added $1.5 billion to their profits in 2000 by licensing patents and developing new technologies. There are a number of organisations, like for example World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), whose objective is to promote the global protection and use of intellectual property rights in a way that allows everyone to benefit.

Some of the main types of intellectual property, which are discussed in this essay, are patents, copyright and trademarks.

Patents are granted for an invention, which should satisfy the requirements of the Patent Act 1977 , section 1(1):

"(a) the invention is new ;

(b) it involves an inventive step ;

(c) it is capable of industrial application ;

(d) the grant of a patent for it is not excluded by subsections (2) and (3) "

Patent ownership can provide an inventor with a monopoly power over the limited period of time. It also prevents other parties from "making, using or selling an invention without the permission of the inventor." If someone uses an invention covered by...