Intellectual Property Protection
Design Patent
A patent confers upon its holder for a limited period, the right to exclude others from exploiting (making, using, selling or importing) the patented invention except with the consent of the patentee.

It is a form of "industrial property", which can be bought and sold, licensed or used by the owner either in whole or in part. An inventor does not need a patent in order to make or use an invention but without a patent the inventor would not be able to prevent others from copying the invention.

In order to be eligible for the grant of a valid patent the invention must fulfil three requirements:
   1) It must be new
   2) It must have an inventive step
   3) Deign will have industrial application.

Design Registration / Community Design
A registered design confers upon its holder for a limited period, the right to exclude others from exploiting a designs appearance/form except with the consent of the holder of the design registration.

It is a form of "industrial property", which can be assigned, transferred, licensed or used by the owner. Design protection is territorial; in effect a design registered in Ireland is only valid in Ireland.

Some aspects of the design may be protected by copyright. If the applicant is a member of the EU they may apply for a Registered Community Design, which will protect them over numerous states within Europe for a limited period of time.

Copyright is the legal term, which describes the rights given to authors/creators of certain categories of work. The owner of copyright is the author, meaning the person who creates the work e.g. a photographer is the owner in the case of a photograph. However, as copyright is a form of property, the right may be transferred to someone else, for example, to a publisher.

Where an employee in the course of employment creates the work, the employer is the owner of the copyright in the work, unless an agreement to the contrary exists. Copyright takes effect as soon as the work is put on paper, film, or other fixed medium such as CD-ROM, DVD, Internet, etc.

No protection is provided for ideas while the ideas are in a persons mind; copyright law protects the form of expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. Copyright protection extends to the following works: original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, sound recordings, films, broadcasts, cable programme's, the typographical arrangement of published editions, computer programme's, original databases.

Trade Mark Protection
A trade mark is the means by which a business identifies its goods or services and distinguishes them from the goods and services supplied by other businesses.

A trade mark may consist of words, (including personal names), designs, logos, letters, numerals or the shape of goods or of their packaging, or of other signs or indications that are capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of others.


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