1. In what way do intellectual property laws reward the creators of original works?
2. Do the laws provide incentives for producing new scientific and creative works?
3. Are some types of intellectual property automatically protected by society at large?
4. Do other types require a specific grant of rights from a government agency before they may be protected by law?
Reading tasks _______________________________________________________
Read the text below.
Intellectual property is an expansive and rapidly changing area of the law which deals with the formulation, usage and commercial exploitation of original creative works. A majority of the issues that arise within this area revolve around the boundary lines of intangible property rights and which of those rights are afforded legal protection. The abstract quality of the property rights involved presents a contrast to other areas of property law. Furthermore, the rapid changes occurring in this field raise topical debates over such things as gene patenting, genetically modified food and peer-to-peer networking (e.g. music piracy on the Internet).
Traditionally, intellectual property rights are broken down into three main areas: patents, trade marks and copyrights. Other areas which warrant mentioning are trade secrets, design rights and the concept of passing off.
A patent is a monopoly right in an invention. Patent law is regulated in various jurisdictions through legislation. A patent must be granted pursuant to the relevant legislation in order to create the monopoly in the invention. Once the patent is granted, the protection remains in force for a statutory period of years, e.g. 20 years in the UK. Most patent legislation requires that a patentable invention: 1) is novel: 2) involves an inventive step; 3) is useful or capable of industrial application; and 4) is an invention or, in the US, non-obvious. Many things are excluded from patentable subject matter due to unsuitability, public policy and morality.
A registered trade mark is similar to a patent in that it provides the holder with an exclusive right to use a ‘distinctive’ mark in relation to a product or a service. A common aspect of applicable legislation is that the mark must be distinctive. In other words, it must be capable of functioning as an identifier of the origin of the good and thereby avoid confusion, deception or mistake. Deception has been deemed to include, for example, the use by another of a domain name that is substantially similar to the trade mark, so-called cybersquatting.
Copyright is a right subsisting in original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and in sound recordings, films, broadcasts and cable programmes, as well as the typography of published editions. Copyright holders possess economic rights associated with their works, including the essential right to prohibit unauthoriseduse of the works. The most common requirements for copyright protection are that the work must be in material form (i.e. not just an idea) and it must be original in the sense that the work ‘originates’ from the relevant author.
Copyright only provides a partial monopoly in a work, as various rules provide exceptions by which a work may be copied without infringing on the rights of the author. A good example of such an exception is the right of fair use recognised in the United States.
Of course, infringement of intellectual property rights may result in enforcement actions being thought against the infringing party. As part of these actions, remedies might include damages, injunctions and account of profits, depending on the right infringed and the extent and nature of the infringement.
3. Decide which of the terms in bold match these definitions.
1. exclusive right granted to authors of creative works to control the use of their original works
2. exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor which prevents others from making, using or selling his or her invention
3. distinctive registered mark used by a business to identify itself and its products or services to consumers
4. official order from a court that stops someone from doing something
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