What is Intellectual Property (IP)?
Intellectual Property refers broadly to the creations of the human mind and Intellectual property rights protect the interests of the creators by giving legal rights over their creations for a term of years.
The main types of IP rights are Copyright which is a property right subsisting in literary and artistic works that are original; Trademarks defined as any sign capable of distinguishing goods or services of one company from those of other companies and may in particular consist of words (including personal names), designs, letters, numerals, shapes and colors; Patent protects technical inventions- new solutions to technical problems; Industrial Designs, is the aesthetic appearance/appeal of an industrial product or handicraft; Geographical Indication is a sign/indication used on goods originating in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. Protection against Unfair Competition, Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions, Folklore and Genetic Resources, Trade secrets, and New Plant Varieties.
Through a registration process, an applicant may obtain a Trademark, Patent, GI and Industrial Design on submission of the relevant application and payment of the prescribed fees.
Note: There is no registration requirement for Copyright
A proprietor who takes his business or company seriously must consider moving from operating a simple business to commercializing his business on a broader spectrum, so then he thinks of establishing his trade on a competitive scale. Then it is important that the proprietor moves to a higher level to first registering a trademark. By so doing he is:
- Establishing and protecting a brand. What the trademark does is adding value to your brand which gives qualitative protection to your goods and/or services. As a result, customers will interact either positively or negatively, based on their perception of the brand.
- Obtains exclusive rights to the trademark or brand for a term of ten (10) years which is renewable for a continuous term of years on payment of the prescribed fee. A trademark prevents anyone in the same industry from using your brand without permission. In the absence of trademark registration, it is much more difficult for the proprietor to enforce his trademark rights or an infringement case.
- Attracts Investors who often require a proprietor to show his exclusive IP right to ownership of the brand. Conflict over ownership hinders investment.
- Trademark builds a business reputation promotes a brand for development and contributes in a big way to the success of the proprietor’s business.