Intellectual Property (IP) – what’s that? Most people think of logos or publications right away, but those are just a few things you can protect. There are other types of rights you should have too.
IP is an asset, and whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or a manager at a startup or small- and medium-sized enterprise, you should know how to make an innovation yours before it is too late.
For a start, these are the common IPs we hear about and their differences:
- Patent: Anything you invented – it can be a new product, process or technical improvement to existing technology
- Design: External appearance of a product, in physical or virtual form
- Copyright: Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works
- Plant Varieties Protection: New plant variety you discovered or developed
- Note: It does not apply for private, non-commercial, experimental or research purposes, or for the purpose of breeding other varieties
- Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits: Simply put, this refers to the interconnections and elements in an integrated circuit board. This would likely only be relevant for those in the semiconductor or manufacturing industry
While relevant parties are automatically protected for the below IPs in Singapore and no registration is required, you should still know what they are.
- Geographical Indications: Think of your Champagne wine, Roquefort cheese, Darjeeling tea… We speak of them so often that we forgot that they are named that way because of their origins. Some regions are known for their quality in certain products, so the mention of the territory carries a value. Therefore, a producer or trader can only give indication that their product is from a particular territory if it is proven true.
- Confidential Information & Trade Secrets
You can make applications or find out more information on the various IPs at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS).
Research and development takes a lot of time and effort. IP helps you to generate more returns-on-investment. You can monetise your IP through lending, licensing or selling it. Is this what you meant?
IP also protects your ideas from getting stolen by competitors. In the event of disputes, here are some of your options:
|Courses of Action
Think they do not satisfy the registration criteria? Make a request to the authorities to take it down.
Things change over time. It is possible for an IP to lose its validity. You may ask for a review.
Know of a competitor with bad ethics, perhaps? You can stop their fraudulent IP registration.
Did someone use your IP without paying for and acquiring the right licence? Or, use it without adhering to your terms and conditions?
Need some advice? Not to worry, IPOS offers complimentary consultations at its IP Business Clinic and has lawyers available at IP Legal Clinic (fees may apply). Just remember to make an appointment!