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A Basic Guide To Intellectual Property For Every Entrepreneur These properties are protected by law which keeps other companies and persons from infringing on them

By Danesh Mehta

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Intellectual property refers to that intangible property that consists of creations of the mind, such as inventions, designs, names used in businesses, and artistic works, among others. As an entrepreneur, safeguarding your intellectual property is one of the most important formalities to complete when starting your business. These properties are protected by the law which keeps other companies and persons from infringing on them. The following are some of the important types of intellectual properties.

Trademarks

A trademark is a mark capable of being represented graphically or visually. It helps in distinguishing the goods and services of one person from that of the others. This may include the name, logo, shape of goods, the packaging, or even a combination of colors. It is advised that trademarks must be registered with the trademark registry. In India, a trademark has a validity of ten years, which may later be renewed. Once the trademark is registered, others are not allowed by law to use the same mark or any mark that is "deceptively similar' to it.

Copyright

A copyright is a form of intellectual property owned by the creators of original works of authorship. Copyrights arise from music, books, films, fashion designs, software, paintings and performances, among others. The registration of copyright is not mandatory in India and the validity of copyrights varies based on the work done. For dramatic, musical, artistic works, the copyright lasts the lifetime of the author or artist and 60 years after his death. For films and sound recordings, it is 60 years from the date of publication. When it comes to photos, they too are copyrighted by the person clicking them.

Patents

A patent is an invention relating to a product or process that is new and involves an inventive step that is capable of industrial application. In India, a patent may either be filed alone or jointly by the first inventor or his assignee (the person it is assigned to). An application for a patent may be made before the Indian Patent Office. A term for a patent is for 20 years from the date of filing and is subject to renewal.

Trade secrets

It is that type of intellectual property that consists of formulas, recipes, practices, instruments, or compilations of information that have economic value and the owner takes reasonable measures to keep it a secret. Trade secrets are also referred to as confidential information. Usually, employee contracts contain a confidentiality clause that does not permit the employee to give a third party any sensitive information of the company. Trade secrets do not have to be registered but there must be enough evidence to prove that the information is confidential or a trade secret.

Today, some of the most valuable assets of a company are their intellectual properties. These properties are a result of hard work, marketing, and heavy finances that companies have invested in building the same. Intellectual property laws are complex and often go through changes which is why it is important to stay up to date on it. To better understand how to register or keep safe the intellectual property of your business it is best that you consult your lawyer.

Danesh Mehta

M Mulla Associates, Advocates & Solicitors

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