Intellectual property refers to those creations or conceptions that cannot be measured in terms of money. These creations usually tend to be ideas of a creative nature including works such as designs, music, written works, inventions, formulations, symbols and phrases. The term 'intellectual property' as it is used today has only been in usage since the mid and late 1800s.Intellectual property has since been used as an umbrella term to include patents, trademarks, copy rights and other intangible assets. Within the Unites States, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is responsible for governance and guidance in the field of intellectual property.
Benefits of Intellectual property Laws
All intellectual properties are intangible and intellectual property laws provide an opportunity for monetary benefit to the creators, owners and inventors of these intangible assets. Besides, these intellectual property laws give recognition to the person(s) who create these ideas and have it registered. This might not always be possible in the absence of intellectual property laws and indeed, history bears testimony to this fact through numerous instances of controversial crediting of inventions. Research has also confirmed the contribution of intellectual property to the growth of economies of several countries.
Types of intellectual properties and differences between each type
The three main types of intellectual property are patents, copyrights and trademarks. Each of these types has a distinct purpose and must not be confused with the others. It is, therefore, very important for someone looking to register his or her intellectual property to be clear about the differences between each type and know exactly what to apply for. Patents are, basically, used to protect enhancements to existing inventions or completely new inventions. Copyrights are used to protect creative works of literature, music and other related fields and finally, trademarks are generally phrases, words, patterns or designs used by brands to market their products and that have become an important part of the identity of their products.
Shortcomings of intellectual property laws
Although intellectual property laws are associated with many benefits, important imitations of such laws have been identified by critics in recent times. One important shortcoming is the fact that because many patents, especially ones related to pharmacy and healthcare, are held developed and rich nations, access for poorer nations which are in most need of these products is restricted because of financial constraints. Other critics contend that intellectual property laws place restrictions on people and prevent them from naturally creative process.
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
Registration of intellectual property in the USA is done via the USPTO. Registration forms can be obtained from the USPTO website. Although the USPTO does have a museum that is open to the public from Monday through Friday, it does not, at the moment, conduct tours of its offices. It is important to note that the USPTO only registers trademarks and patents and not copyrights. For registration of copyrights in the USA, the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress must be contacted.