2.2 What is IP Protection?
IP protection limits copying or other unfair use of the IP by competitors. There are three main categories of protection:
- Trade secrets
- legal registrations (patents, trade marks, designs, plant breeders rights)
- automatic legal protection (copyright, circuit layout)
The types of IP protection within these categories will be explored later in this training. A single item of IP can have multiple protections of various types.
Except in the case of some trade secrets, the owners of protected IP hold legal rights in recognition of the investment they made in developing their IP. These rights give IP owners competitive advantages that reduce the risks of commercialisation, encouraging development of innovations.
Registering a business name, company name or domain name does not provide the rights available under IP protection. In particular, such name registrations do not provide rights to use those names as trade marks.
The concept of protection is so strongly linked to the concept of IP that people often refer to a means of protection (such as a patent) as being the IP, whereas the actual IP is the innovation that the patent protects.