Intellectual property rights protect creativity and innovation in all fields of human endeavour - be it the arts, industry, commerce or information technology.
The 4 main intellectual property rights are:
- Copyright - protects literary or artistic creations, as well as broadcasts, sound recordings and software programmes. Copyright comes into being as soon as the original concept is embodied in a concrete form, for example, as soon as an idea is expressed in writing.
- Patents - protect industrial invention and innovation such as, new machinery or pharmaceuticals. To obtain a patent, an inventor must apply to the relevant patent office.
- Trade marks - protect names and brands. The aim of this right is to let the consumer know whose goods he/she is purchasing. Trade marks are obtained by making an application to the relevant trade mark office. Without a registered trade mark, a business would have to fall back on the common law remedy of a claim for "passing off" - usually a more difficult route.
- Design right - protects the visual appearance or aesthetic appeal of objects, including industrial objects. There are different types of design right - some require to be applied for, others come into being upon creation of the design.
There are also a number of other rights which fall under the umbrella of intellectual property - for example, performers' rights, database rights, plant variety rights and trade secrets.
Axiom Advocates' members can advise you about the law of intellectual property and how to make sure your interests are properly protected in advance. When problems arise, Axiom members can help you to enforce your rights against infringers, or to defend yourself against claims from a third party.