Know your Intellectual Property Rights!

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IMPORTANT NOTE: Since this topic is about law, it is territorial and may not apply to your local laws. Feel free to comment on what you think differs or if you found something wrong in the post. 


Earlier this day, I had a seminar on the topic and wanted to share what I have learned. After all, I believe that every I.T. folk will benefit on knowing how to protect themselves against Intellectual Property Issues.

First of all, I’d like to introduce to you WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization. As I know that I have no authority on the issue and may have missed a few important points. WIPO is a global organization who is in-charge of  Intellectual Property services and policies.

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual Property (will be referred to as IP from this point onward) refers to anything that has been created by a human being. This includes inventions, art works, industrial designs, logos, names, et cetera.

IP is protected by law with patents, trademarks, and copyrights. The point of these law is to protect the original creator or the inventor from people who will try to copy him. The point of IP laws is to have the original creator be recognized and benefit for his achievement.

What kinds of IP laws are out there?

There are 3, at least that’s what have been discussed, namely Copyright, Trademark, and Patent.

Copyright is probably the one we will be most concerned of as I.T. Professionals. We are all aware of this term, but what is it? Simply, Copyright is a branch of IP that gives the rights to creators and authors. This includes literary works, artistic works, whether it be music, fine art, photos, and any technology-based works such as computer programs, websites, and electronic databases.

Copyright protects the expression of thoughts or ideas, not the thoughts or ideas themselves

-IPPHL, Brochure on Intellectual Property

Trademark is fairly simple, it is your mark. Mark is any visible sign that distinguishes your brand, product, or company’s services. It includes the name, logo, slogans, designs, and labels. A trade name is a trademark  but just a name or a designation of an enterprise. There is also a collective mark which is used by multiple different companies with the permission of the registered mark owner. Trademark is useful as it distinguishes your company. It has three functions: an indicator of source, a guarantee of quality, and as an advertising tool.

Lastly, we have Patents.  Patents are exclusive rights given to inventors.

Patentable inventions offer a technical solution to a problem in any field of human activity. The technical solution must fulfill three basic requirements: (1) it must be new; (2) it must involve an inventive step and ; (3) it must be industrially applicable.

– IPPHL, Brochure on Intellectual Property

Patent owners has the right to block the use of any entity from using, making, or selling his product or process. Patents are transferable, and licensing contracts for patents exists. Patent examples includes the following: Utility models, Industrial Designs, Layout designs of Integrated Circuits, New Plant Varieties, and Chemicals.

So? Why does this matter?

I’m almost entirely sure that no one will ask this. It is vital to protect you or your company’s against people and (most of the times) companies from being a jerk and just steal your content. If you are a photographer and you’ve seen your copyrighted photo on a postcard, tabloid, or brochure of a company, you have the right to be paid by the company responsible for this. I know that huge companies may bully still bully you despite having no rights on a product, but at least you have the legal ground on your side.



Jon Marco Reyes

Marco is a self-proclaimed "geek" and only has a bit of knowledge of what you are talking about. He's constantly curious and wants to know everything. However, he is also easily distracted by his hobbies. In effect, Jon Marco has become a "Jack of all trade, master of none" kind of person. Someone who has an idea of being creative and being technical. He's a College student finishing his Bachelors in Computer Engineering.

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