what are intellectual property rights

👤 Diwas Poudel    🕒 22 Nov 2022    📁 TECH

Intellectual Property(IP) is one of the hottest topics nowadays in this era of technology and many companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, etc and many countries have a large number of rigid technical and legal intellectual property. This property is their precious unobservable asset and is needed for development and sustainability in this competitive globe of today. This intellectual property is one of the most valuable portions of a technological company’s portfolio.

Before discussing Intellectual Property lets know about the types of property and where intellectual property lies:

Property is a term that describes everything to which an individual or legal entity has a legal right of ownership, providing owners with certain compulsory rights to these items.

There are three types of property: 

Type Description
1) Movable Property  Any property that can be moved from one place to another is movable property. Eg: Shares, Gold, Silver, Money, Car, furniture, machinery, fixtures
2) Immovable Property   Any property that cannot be moved from one place to another is immovable property. Eg. Land, Building
3) Intellectual Property Property that arises out of human intelligence or mental labor ie. Patent, Design, Trade Mark, Copyright

Now let's talk about Intellectual Property:

Intellectual property is human property developed by human intellect. According to the Definition by WIFO, Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.UN organization dedicated to promoting the use and protection of works of the human spirit. Its headquarters are in Switzerland, Geneva. Altogether 185 nations are members of this organization. Its main works are to manage all IPs. The main aim/mission of WIPO is to promote creativity and innovation for the financial, social, and cultural growth of all nations through balanced and efficient global intellectual property schemes.

Intellectual Property is the property of an organization that doesn't exist physically like any other physical property such as home, land, and money but these are their virtual property and has no physical features and no one will dare to still this property. Only that organization has the full right to enjoy the property at first.

If one holds the idea, discoveries, secret information, brand name and logos, the formula of anything and reserves the intellectual property for that then no one can get build that technology without the owner's permission. But notice one thing you may sell it to somebody else if you don't want or can't use your intellectual property (IP) yourself. You are paid for the IP you spent developing time and money. The purchaser is free to use the intellectual property he has purchased in any manner he chooses. And the life span of these IP rights varies from type to type.


In this unfair competition, everyone likes to move forward whatever the consequences occur so reserving any ideas, formula, or discoveries are becoming important. And copying any intellectual property is considered illegal and WIPO can take necessary action for this illegal action. So, business holders must safeguard their IP and make sure that they do not breach the IP of others.

Now, let's talk about the nature and characteristics of Intellectual Property.

Nature  Description
Intangible Property IP does not cover the created physical object.
Rights and Duties: IP not only gives rise to the rights of the property but also to their duties. The IP owner has the right to carry out such actions in relation to his work/product.
Creation of Statute: In certain types of Intellectual Property rights (IPR) such as Patent and Product Design, work registration is mandatory in accordance with applicable legislative requirements while in the case of some other types of IPR, registration is not mandatory. Such as trademarks and copyrights.
Territoriality The concept of territoriality states that the IP rights granted or protected by the state are independent of those granted or protected by other states, and the rights granted by each state under the IP law are limited to that state's territory.
Assignable They must be clearly provided (license) because they are facilities. There is a division between intellectual property and the actual form that is embedded in the work. IPs can be bought, sold or licensed, employed, or affiliated.


 Some well-known intellectual property types are copyright, patent, trademarks, and many more. These Patent, Trademark ™, and copyrights © provide a medium to promote new ideas and inventions. Let us discuss them in brief.



Copyright covers creative and intellectual works, such as music, literacy, writing, sculptures, choreography, dance, drama, art, etc. Here, the creator/author has exclusive rights to reproduce, make derivatives, perform, translate and display his/her work publicly. Copyright protects the works of authorship. You have noticed this below symbol in many books, CDs, and images. Actually, this symbol is the Copyright symbol.

fig: copyright symbol

The conception of copyright was created in Britain with the invention of the printing press and later spread all over the world. Roughly 165 nations worldwide support the copyright laws of the Berne Convention. According to the Berne Guidelines, the copyright is automatic. These guidelines shall apply to any work and shall be applicable for the period of five decades from the day the work is published or up to fifty years from its death.


Coming Soon...



A trademark is a sign or symbol which identifies products or services of companies from its competitors in the marketplace. Trademarks can be used in the brand name, brand logo, phrase, symbol, numerals, slogan, etc., or any combination of those items. A trademark exclusively recognizes a product solely as belonging to a specific business or company.

In a market, for a trademark, we may have seen the 'TM' or 'SM' or ® symbol. Each of them is differently recognized. Today we'll get the distinction between them briefly.

Trademark(TM):  It is for unregistered trademarks used for goods (ie. products). Generally, TM is just a sign on which the business is able to put a new phrase, a logo, a word, or a design to show that they intend to register the same with the trademark registry.

Servicemark(SM): It is also an unregistered trademark used for services.

Both TM and SM can be used in the brand even before registering the product or service with USPTO. 

Registered Trademark( ® ): It is a registered trademark. Once a trademark or service mark is registered then R is used to indicate that the trademark has been registered.


The patent is a kind of intellectual property where the inventor has the right to exclude all others from the production, use, or sale of their invention for a limited year. So, the inventor will have monopoly power in his invention. A patent is a limited property right usually given by the government. Like other physical properties, it can be sold,   licensed, assigned, transferred, or abandoned. The patent is the exclusive rights that are applied within the territory like within the nation or within the region in which a patent was filed and awarded.

There are 3 main kinds of a patent.

Design patents: A patent for a design may be applied if anyone has created a new design for a product. It covers the shape, color, and pattern of the whole product or just a part of a product. It protects non-functional appearance like the shape of invention etc.

Plant Patents: It's a patent for the plant. A plant patent is acquired for the protection of a new, unique and distinct variety of plants that may cover cultivated sports, mutants, hybrids, and newly discovered seedlings, except a tuber-propagated plant or an uncultivated plant. The aim of the project was mainly to promote plant breeding and increase genetic diversity in the horticultural industry. It allows its owner to rule out the production, use, sale, and import of the plant by others for a restricted period.

Utility Patents: A Utility Patent, also referred to as the "invention patent," shall prohibit the production, use, or sale of the invention by other people or businesses without authorization. Generally, peoples talk about the patent, but actually, they are actually talking about utility patents. A utility patent may include a broad range of inventions including movable parts like machines, engines, articles of manufacture, any process like business process, software, chemical compound, and the new composition of matters like medicine. It protects the functional features of an invention ie. it protects how the invention works kinds of stuff.

Example: Utility Patent for iPhone includes how a touch screen display of iPhone works, how one or more processors work in iPhone, how programs are stored in memory etc.


Trade Secret

This intellectual property is not known to the public. It is a formula, pattern, program, plan, process, or technique that a company keeps private to gain commercial benefit from it. It is being protected in various ways. restricting access to information by storing information in a secured location such as in a vault, limiting the number of people knowing the information, by doing agreements to the people to not disclose the information to people, etc.

If an owner of the trade secret fails to protect the secret or if the secret is discovered, revealed, or becomes general knowledge among the individual, the security of the secret shall be revoked.


As Coca-Cola was established in 1892 and from that day its formula for making coca-cola is hidden and kept secret among few people
as a trade secret.

PageRank algorithm is protected using patent/trademark but the details are protected using trade secrets

KFC chicken recipe ingredient is also kept as secret as trade secrets.

Industrial Design

Industrial Design is a type of intellectual property where ornamental or aesthetic 2D or 3D visual features of the product are protected. It doesn't protect principle, and function copied design, ideas, or obscene matters of the product but just protects the looks of the product. It may contain patterns, the composition of lines, colors, shapes, and the texture of the product. It is necessary for a company to have industrial design because it takes a long long time for the company for building the finest design and looks of the product.

Example: Vespa scooter design, coca-cola bottle, cipher drinking glass are few industrial design properties

industrial design

Other Related Post:

What the hack Assistive Technology is?

What is in Microsoft Technology Stack?