Basics of Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property lawyers or IP Attorneys assist clients in protecting intangible assets by patents or trademarks.
ip attorney

Intellectual Property lawyers or IP Attorneys assist clients in protecting intangible assets by patents or trademarks. Depending upon the types of assets, the protection under law is governed through patents, trademarks, copyrights, designs or trade secrets.

IP Case Study

One interesting case study to understand intellectual property in its simplest form is to consider our shoe buying experience. To buy a new pair of shoes, a consumer decides to go for a particular brand like Nike. Brands attract their consumers through names (Nike), logo or tagline (Just do it). These marketing related aspects of a business are protected by way of trademarks. An example of NIKE trademark can be seen here, which has been filed in class 25 to cover goods including, clothing, boots, shoes and slippers.

At the time of selecting a product to buy from a particular brand, another important deciding factor is the visual appeal. Consumers are inclined to select a product based on its outer looks. Without touching or trying a NIKE shoe, the consumers interact with another intellectual property associated with the products, which is known as aesthetics or design. These looks are protected under the design law. An example of Nike design registration can be seen here. In some jurisdictions including the USA, Designs are registered as design patents under the patent law, whereas in jurisdictions like India, designs are registered as industrial designs under the Designs Act. The consumers compare the product benefits before taking the purchase decision. For buying a Nike shoe, the benefits can include comfortable sole, better air flow, better cushioning, and the like. Such utility features that provide novel and unique benefits to the consumers are protected by way of patents. An example of Nike patent can be seen here.

IP Stakeholders

Intellectual property rights are mostly created by organizations or individual inventors. The organizations include companies, universities, startups and small enterprises. Another category of stakeholders include research organizations like public and private research labs that carry out research activities. Collectively, all stakeholders generate intellectual property assets in various forms, which require the appropriate protection under various laws. Protection of Innovation Innovative products and services are protected by intellectual property rights governed by various different laws. However, every invention begins with an idea. According to the law, an idea cannot be patented in its abstract form. The law clearly states that the idea needs to be put forward in the form of an invention that can be implemented to obtain a patent. The conception phase is not only important with respect to the idea and invention but also how diligently it is developed. It can be termed as a precaution, so when the patent application is put under “interference” by USPTO, the applicant can produce evidence before the court, which had been preserved as the inventor was diligent while developing the invention.

IP Portfolio

Technology companies focused on innovation based business model invest heavily in research and development to create a portfolio of intellectual property rights. As a result of extensive range of intellectual property rights owned by the company, the business is able to expand all over the world through its network sales. IP owners are able to launch and scale businesses due to a perfect mixture of patents, trademarks, designs as well as copyrights. IP protection is required for investing in researches and designing of the products. The names are registered in the trademark as a wordmark, the source code of software products is protected under copyright and the unique process involved in the software application is patented across various jurisdictions. A strong patent portfolio owned by a company adds to the company’s reputation and value across sectors. This provides immense reputation and better valuation to the company as a result of premium quality and reliable products. During commercial transactions, the transacting company is more cooperative when the IP ownership is clearly defined, and it gives transactional security to both the parties involved. In addition, having valuable IP ownership provides competitive advantage at public bids. In certain situations, companies are able to apply for tax benefits due to higher revenue generation brought to the company’s shareholders because of the valuable Intellectual property rights.


Advocate Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology, Intellectual Property & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at rd (at) patentbusinesslawyer (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter.

Quoted in and contributed to 50+ national & international publications (Bloomberg, FirstPost, SwissInfo, Outlook Money, Yahoo News, Times of India, Economic Times, Business Standard, Quartz, Global Legal Post, International Bar Association, LawAsia, BioSpectrum Asia, Digital News Asia, e27, Leaders Speak, Entrepreneur India, VCCircle, AutoTech).

Regularly invited to speak at international & national platforms (conferences, TV channels, seminars, corporate trainings, government workshops) on technology, patents, business strategy, legal developments, leadership & management.

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