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Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is the term used to describe the intangible property rights which an individual creates or invents and which is subject to exclusive ownership just as any kind of physical property can be; i.a. land and personal property. In a majority of countries inventors can seek protection against unauthorized use of their creation. IPR is a category of ownership rights. It is intangible product of the human mind or intellect. When such a right has been granted as prescribed in the national legislation, it can be transferred or licensed, used as security for credit and loan, be subject to inheritance; in other words an intellectual property is a commercial product of the human mind. It is to be distinguished from the physical object, into which a creation can be transformed.
Normally IPR is divided into industrial property rights and copyrights and related rights. Industrial property rights are divided into:
- Patents of invention;
- Utility model certificate;
- Industrial designs and models;
- Layout designs (topographies) of integrated circuits;
- Marks; collective marks; certification marks; trade names;
- Geographical indications.
The scope of protection
Those who have their rights protected are:
- Creators of industrial designs
- Creators of layout designs of integrated circuits
- Creators of distinctive signs used in trade
- Authors of literary, artistic and scientific works, performers
- Phonogram producers
- Other author of an original intellectual creation
The protection includes availability, acquisition, scope, maintenance and enforcement of intellectual property rights as well as the use of the rights. It is achieved through a system of transfer of rights or licensing them to other people than the inventor, innovator etc. The protection also includes the interest of the public for third parties to make use of the inventions, innovations etc. for developing new ideas without violating the rights of the creators.
The IPR system provides the basic registration and information services, related to the following duties of the organization with respect to the intellectual property rights management:
- Registration of applications for industrial property rights;
- Granting the industrial property rights provided by the law;
- Registration of copyrights;
- Maintenance of the intellectual property rights by keeping the records and monitoring the payment of annual fees for keeping the acquired rights in force;
- Registration of amendments, including invalidation, transfer, assignment, contractual license, compulsory license, ex officio compulsory license and others;
- Information services, including features like on-line search in the register, tracking of the application processing and placing orders on the officially verified information printouts.
An intellectual property register has to be an official, public register which enables the registration of the information required by law and makes the information available for the third parties. IPR anticipates national legislation as well as a national institutional framework. A relation to the international framework is however indispensable.