Intellectual Property Rights are a basic asset of companies. They protect
innovations and are valid in individual countries for specified periods.
They are generally granted by a national patent office, or a regional one
like the EPO. They confer the right to prevent third parties from making,
using or selling the innovation without their owners‘ consent.
are different types of rights, which should not be confused with the other
kinds of intellectual property rights available:
Patents can be granted
for technical inventions, for example, a product, a process or an apparatus,
which are new, industrially applicable and involve an inventive step.
Utility Models can be registered in some countries, to protect technical
innovations which might not qualify for a patent. Copyright protects
creative and artistic works such as literary texts, musical compositions and
broadcasts against unauthorised copying and certain other uses. Trade marks
are distinctive signs identifying brands of products or services; they may
be made up of two- or three-dimensional components such as letters, numbers,
words, shapes, logos or pictures, or even sounds. Designs and models protect
a product‘s visual appearance, i.e. its shape, contours or colour.