Overview of intellectual property rights

Intellectual property rights (IPRs) are the rights granted by the States to the creators of intellectual property. Such rights allow the inventor of such intellectual property to exploit the same for a limited period of time. Such rights are exclusive in nature (during the tenure of such rights).

Intellectual property rights are categorised into two;

  1. Copyright & Related Rights, and
  2. Industrial Property

Copyright is a legal term describing the rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works. In other words, the domain of copyright is the protection of literary and artistic works.TRIPS agreement has enlarged the scope of copyrights by including computer programs, broadcasting, performances and designs under its umbrella.

Copyright assure the creator that, their works can be distributed without the fear of piracy. It will assist to increase the access to the works and promotes the enjoyment of culture, entertainment and knowledge across the world. However, an idea is not protected under copyright. Only expressions of an idea get copyright protection.Related rights provide protection to the following individuals or organisations;

  1. Broadcasting organisations in their telecasted programs because they have got a vested interest in protecting their organisational and technical skills they exercised in the programs telecasted by them from the acts of piracy.
  2. Performers are protected in their performances because of their creative contribution.
  3. Producers of sound recordings in their recordings because of the creative inputs as well as technical and financial resources needed to bring the recordings accessible to the public.

Industrial properties are intangible properties created as a result of human intellect. They are protected under the provisions of respective national laws as well as international treaties. It include patents for inventions, industrial designs (aesthetic creations related to the appearance of industrial products), trademarks, service marks, layout-designs of integrated circuits, commercial names and designations, geographical indications and protection against unfair competition.

It is just and appropriate that, the person putting in the work and effort into an intellectual creativity has some incentive as a result of such an invention. Similarly, by giving protection to intellectual property, many such inventions are encouraged and industries based on such creativity can grow, as others see that, such creativities brings financial return to the inventor.

Further, intellectual property rights also extend protection to such things as the unwritten and unrecorded cultural expression of many developing countries. That, will indeed benefits such countries to exploit and gain advantage of it.