Why Intellectual Property needs to be protected

When you write an article, copyright is created automatically in the work. This means that if anyone were to copy the work then you may enforce your right upon them in a court of law. Copyright arises automatically, for example the moment that J K Rowling put pen to paper and created the Philosophers Stone, copyright existed in that book and nobody may copy that book without her permission, and if they did then she may sue them.

Copyright can be a fickle mistress. Using the J k Rowling example as above, copyright exists in her books however if someone were to take a passage of that book and use it for a book of their own, then they may not be infringing copyright. The Copyright Designs and Patents Act will only protect Miss Rowling where a substantial part is copied. The Act does not define what a ‘substantial part’ is. This gives the courts a wide discretion on deciding what is substantial. In all likelihood for Miss Rowling, merely utterance of ‘Harry Potter’ in another book would be copyright infringement. She is well protected due to the popularity of her work especially with the name ‘Harry Potter’ that, when in 2008 Bollywood produced a film called ‘Hari Puttar’ Warner brothers sued for similarity. Unfortunately the case failed in the Indian courts. They needn’t had waste the money as the film was a failure at the box office. The fact

Copyright does not protect concepts. What this means is that J K Rowling does not own the copyright on all wizarding and magical books, similarly Stephen King does not have copyright on Horror novels. This may seem like it reduces effectiveness as a protection mechanism but you would be wrong. Intellectual Property has to give a balance between the protection and enforcement of ideas and the freedom for creativity to flow. If Intellectual Property law is too constricting then no new creativity may exist. If Stephen King held the copyright over Horror novels then it would put him in a position of great power. It would mean that one man may produce books designed to frighten and scare, and that the whole genre would be his books. This would then lead to a position where they could not be any competition in this market, and then the downfall of the genre. Therefore it is an amicable position to be in.

The downfall of this position is that it affects the protective measures and allows direct copying in certain aspects. West Side Story is a great example this was a direct copy of the concept of Romeo and Juliet. If Shakespeare knew about copyright law I’m sure he would be furious. Going back to the Hari Puttar example, this film was a copy of Home Alone. On one side it means that creativity is allowed, on the other key concepts of books, films etc can be copied without any problems.

Trademarks are another area of Intellectual Property, a trademark is basically the brand of the goods, and Nike for example will have their famous ‘tick’ logo trademarked along with their name. These two areas work hand in hand. The trademark will cover the logo on the goods and make sure that no one can use it and the copyright will make sure that they cannot copy the goods themselves.

Tradmarking protects the business reputation that is vital in a competing market place. A business relies on its goodwill and reputation to survive, in the absence of this protection, anyone may use the business name and logos of a business and the origin of the goods and more importantly the quality of the goods will be different. If this were the situation, if you bought a pair of Nike shoes, you would not know where it has been produced and to what quality. With this system in place we can state exactly where the shoes are made and they will be made to the appropriate quality.

There are many requirements to successfully trademark a business name, firstly it must original and not copy the name or logo of another business operating in the same sector. Key parts need to be distinctive, a logo that is a droplet of water for a business called H2O seems like a logical business name and logo however it is not distinctive enough. H20 is the name for water which will be likely to be descriptive of their services. An Example of a descriptive name would be if Hoover were to register their name today, most people do not say ‘vacuum cleaner’ we say Hoover which is indicative of a vacuum cleaner, therefore the registration of that trademark name would not be possible.

Patent protection is the oldest form of intellectual property. The protection of inventions has always been important to protect the creators work. When an inventor may take 10 years to come up with a perfected working invention it would seem unjust to allow someone to copy the working invention once it has been perfected. For a Patent to be worthy of protection, it must be new, have an innovative step and capable of being made and used in some kind of industry.

Overall the measures to protect intellectual property are adequate to protect the rights of the creators and is essential in the 21st century.

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