Intellectual Property - what will they think of next?



Intellectual Property (IP) is a slightly cumbersome term meaning "the results from someone's idea". However, when you come to analyse or write about it, or it becomes part of a legal discussion, it's perhaps the best term we have. IP is more or less something invented, and is valuable to the person or organisation who may have invested a lot in it and expects to earn from its application.

In a modern knowledge-based world, IP is becoming ever more important in business, and is therefore protected in the following ways:
- Recorded work (e.g. songs, novels, movies), subject to copyright
- Processes or things arising from processes (e.g. pharmaceutical products, computer programmes), which can be the subject of patents and only usable under licence
- Trade marks, logos and designs, normally only usable by the owner, or strictly licensed

It's important to emphasise that IP covers items which are the results of an idea, so abstract ideas and physical/naturally occurring phenomena, which can be discovered, are not IP. However, with the complexities of modern biotechnology, this distinction is perhaps becoming less clear. Worth thinking about....








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