Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. Intellectual property is divided into two categories:

  •  Industrial Property includes patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications.
  • Copyright covers literary works (such as novels, poems and plays), films, music, artistic works (e.g., drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures) and architectural design. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and broadcasters in their radio and television programs

Intellectual Property Protection is protection for inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, and images created by the mind.

A person may be sued under intellectual property when he or she infringes upon protected rights covered under intellectual property law.

The common rights created under intellectual property include:


  • The right to decide who may or may not use the patented invention for the period during which it is protected.
  • The right to sale their invention rights to someone else.
  • The right to give permission to, or license other parties to use their invention on mutually agreed terms.


The right holder of a work can authorize or prohibit:

  • Its reproduction in all forms including printing and sound recording.
  • Its public performance and communication in public.
  • Its broadcasting.
  • Its translation into other languages.
  • Its adaptation such as from novel to screen play.
  • The right to claim authorship.
  • The right to oppose changes to the work that could harm the creator’s reputation.


  • The owner has exclusive right to use them to identify goods or services.
  • The right to authorize others to use them in return for payment.

NB: it’s essential in the commercial world as it hinders counterfeiters from using similar distinctive signs to market inferior of different products or services.


  • The owner or entity that has registered the design has exclusive right and protection against unauthorized copying or imitation of the design by 3rd parties.


  • The right to authorize other parties to use them.

A breach of intellectual property occurs when you infringe upon intellectual property (IP) rights. It occurs when a person copies, uses, or exploits Intellectual Property without the consent of the owner. Because of that, laws regarding Intellectual Property breach are very strict and one need to be cautious when dealing with Intellectual Property.

As a lawful owner of intellectual property, you can get redress in law could any of the above mentioned right be infringed. The above mentioned rights can be enforced by the right holder through a variety of methods including civil action suits, administrative remedies and criminal prosecution.

Available remedies include injunctions, orders requiring destruction of infringing items, inspection orders, fines and even jail sentence.

Two common and especially costly examples of Intellectual Property infringement are piracy and counterfeiting. Piracy is the unauthorized reproduction, use, or distribution of Intellectual Property, while counterfeiting is the imitation of Intellectual Property in order to take advantage of the original IP’s superior value through an unauthorized and often inferior product. Piracy, counterfeiting, and other types of IP infringement can be considered a violation of civil or criminal law, depending on the type of Intellectual Property, the jurisdiction in which the offense occurred and the type of violation.

Nonetheless, as of 2011, counterfeit trademark and copyright works accounted for $600 billion in trade worldwide, or 5% to 7% of the global economy. Because of the obvious prevalence of this threat, as well as the evolving technology by which it is committed, individuals and businesses must be prepared to protect themselves, act in their own defense or seek the assistance of a competent lawyers, should an Intellectual Property breach be committed. If the necessary steps are taken, however, the threat of Intellectual Property infringement can at least be minimized.

BY: Andrew Wanga

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