By Pranjali Modak on 26 April 2012
On the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day, Pranjali Modak, from the Center for Research in Engineering Sciences and Technology (CREST) at KPIT Cummins, discusses Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), its growing importance, and why we all need to care.
Courtesy: Martin Whitmore
Intellectual Property (IP) protects the creations of human minds. If you come up with an idea or an invention, you deserve the exclusive right to produce, use, sell, and monetize the concept.
After all, would J.K. Rowling bother to write another Harry Potter if anyone could use her books, make prints and adaptations and sell them without permission or payment? Would you like it if your competitors could freely copy your ideas and products? In the interests of protecting original ideas, Governments grant exclusive rights to creators, and these are known as Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
The term is an umbrella, which includes Industrial Rights and Copyrights. Industrial Rights further comprises of Patents, Trademarks, Industrial Designs, Geographic Indicators, Trade Secrets, and Layout Designs. Different aspects of a single invention can be protected under various categories of IP rights. For example, let’s say your invention is a car. You can protect the logo of the car under Trademark, the body parts & aesthetics under Industrial Designs, the software used under Copyrights, and the technology under Patents.
So, why are Intellectual Property rights important?
The public’s general impression is that intellectual property is not worth as much as tangible property. However, while people and organizations take great care to protect their physical assets, they should be just as diligent when it comes to intellectual assets. IP rights are important as an individual and as organization.
It is important for organizations to protect their intellectual property in present day world of technological explosions, rising innovation trends, open markets and tough competition. Intellectual Property enhances the market value of a company for investors and financial institutions. Inventions can be converted into profit making assets for companies. IP assists organizations in almost every aspect of business development and competitive strategy. Today, the IP portfolio of a company has come to play a crucial role in protecting the business, customers, and market share, in the valuation of a company, and during sales, mergers, and acquisitions.
While it is important to ensure that you protect your own IP, it is equally essential to ensure that you do not violate anyone else’s. Infringing the IP rights of others has serious consequences in terms of cost, time, company reputation, and customer relationships. Just as you would not think of using someone else’s physical assets without their permission, you should not use software, download information on the internet, or copy someone else’s idea without prior permission or payment (if applicable).
When it comes to Intellectual Property, you really do need to care - about protecting and enforcing your IP rights and also about respecting the IP rights of others.
The good news is that IP awareness is on the rise and developing countries are realizing its importance. KPIT Cummins has joined the movement, protecting its creations and filing more patents every year. As I blog, we have filed 35+ patents till date!
In a nutshell, protect your IP, respect the IP rights of others and on this World Intellectual Property Day, be an Intellectual Property aware individual!
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