What is IP?

Intellectual property (IP) means any patent, trade mark, copyright, design right, registered design, technical or commercial information or other intellectual property (Supreme Court Act 1981, s. 72(5)). It describes the legal rights that exist in products of human creativity: inventions, designs, literary and artistic works, databases and brands. IP and industrial property are synonymous.

Intellectual property rights (IPRs) arise either automatically or on registration. Examples of the former are copyright, design right and database right. The latter include patents, registered trade marks and registered designs. IPRs are negative although often expressed as exclusive rights. They entitle the owner to prevent others using or misusing the subject of the right.

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