Strategic Management – Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the intellect for which a right is assigned to the creators by law. The rights that protect trademarks cover music, literature, and other artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs.

Intellectual Property (IP) concerns the creation of a knowledge-based product. One cannot “own” ideas in the head, they must be in a tangible form, such as drawings, reports, plans, or specifications. Then they are an intellectual property protected by laws.


The creator must be identified, but the ownership may be assigned to someone else. If you invent something while in work term and the employer patents it, you are an inventor, but the employer owns the invention and patent (also applies to copyright).


Employer’s IP policies, which are usually outlined in the employment contract are important. In many firms, employees sign a contract where all Intellectual Property rights are owned by the employer.

Industrial Design Rights

An industrial design right protects the visual design of objects. An industrial design consists a shape, configuration or composition of pattern or color, or mix of pattern and color in 3D form that has an aesthetic value.

Plant Varieties

Plant variety rights are the rights to commercially use a new variety of a plant. The variety must amongst others be novel and distinct.


A trademark is a sign, design or expression which distinguishes products or services of a particular trader from similar objects of others.

Trade Dress

It is characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging that signify the source of the product to consumers.

Trade Secrets

A trade secret may be a formula, practice, process, design, instrument, pattern, or compilation of information which is not known or ascertainable.

Recognizing the Contributors

Whoever owns the IP, contributors must receive appropriate recognition. In case of reports or drawings, the contributor’s name should be included in the documents. However, for technical manuals, software, or advertising copies, it may be queer for the creator to be identified.

Exception Cases

If you develop an invention while working on an employer’s invention, disclose this information and have your invention excluded from the employment contract.

IP rights violation, also known as “infringement” of patents, copyright, and trademarks, and “misappropriation” of trade secrets, is a breach of civil law or criminal law, based on the type of intellectual property involved, jurisdiction, and the nature of the action.

Copy, Right?

Trade in counterfeit copyrighted and trademarked works was a $600 billion industry worldwide and accounted for 5–7% of global trade as of 2011.

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