marți, 18 ianuarie 2011

Copyright, patent, trademark and design

Copyright law covers an individual’s creative expression. It accrues automatically to any qualifying work and does not need to be registered. It normally lasts for the author’s lifetime plus seventy years. Patent law originated in the need to protect inventions of new industrial products and processes. It gives the inventor a monopoly in the making of the new product, typically for twenty years. Whereas copyright accrues automatically, a patent has to pass stringent tests before being approved. It must be novel, non-obvious and useful. None of these tests applies to copyright. Once registered, a patent gives stronger protection than does copyright. A trademark does not require any artistic or creative expression or any expert skill. It is a mark or symbol that represents an organization or trade. Trademarks are registered, they have to be actively traded and to pass tests of type and uniqueness. A design is a shape or symbol that, like a trademark, has the character of being distinctive and unusual. Legally, it is a hybrid. It often qualifies for copyright; it may also qualify for a special design right (as in Britain); and it is usually registered like a trademark.

These systems can overlap. An artist’s working sketch for a trade-mark qualifies as an artistic work and merits copyright protection quite separately from the trademark itself being registered as a trademark or a design. Computer programs which automatically qualify for copyright may in some countries also be awarded a patent.

The copyright industries consist of all industries that create copyright or related works as their primary product – advertising, computer software, design, photography, film, music (publishing, recording and performing), performing arts, publishing, radio and TV, and video games. The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) distinguishes between the “core” copyright industries and the total copyrights industries, which also include the manufacturing of products which depend upon copyright goods (computers, TV receivers).

The patent industries consist of all industries that produce or deal with patents. The dominant ones are the pharmaceuticals, electronics, information technology, industrial design, materials, chemicals, engineering, space and vehicles. The dominant activity is scientific research and development which is carried out by commercial companies, technical laboratories and universities. The US, Japan, Germany, France and UK are only some of the most prolific countries in this field. Patents registered by the US and UK Patent Office by country of applicant in 1999 can be found in the appendix section

The trademark and design industries are more widespread, and their size and diversity make them less distinctive. It is possible to identify the creativity involved in the creation of a trademark, but it is less easy to calculate its economic value or to identify the economic gains attributable to the trademark in the total product mix.

Together, these four industries constitute the creative industries and the creative economy. The creative economy consists of the transactions in these creative products. Each transaction may have two complementary values: the value of the intangible, intellectual property and the value of the physical career or platform. This creative economy covers a wide range of branches, and money made out of them reach significant figures. To have an idea, the market size of the creative economy in 1999 is depicted in the appendix section.