Protecting Intellectual Property

Article excerpt

With tightening competition on the global market and through the Internet, intellectual property is more critical than ever for inventors, scientists, researchers, and business owners.Around the world, there is a growing recognition of the importance of intellectual property (IP) in encouraging innovation, diffusing scientific and technical knowledge, and enhancing market entry and firm creation.In the United States, the European Union and Japan, the opportunity to profit from an innovation has become so valuable that the protection of intellectual assets through patents can become very contentious.A patent gives a creator the right to prevent someone else from producing what his patent covers. IP rights – which include patents, industrial designs, copyrights and trademarks – reward investment in R&D and innovation by granting inventors and creators market power over competitors.Securing one’s IP position helps ensure that other people pay for your innovation. Many inventors who do not set out to build their own company can partner with firms who can bring their products to life.Thomas Edison, for example, acquired more than 1,000 patents – many of which he licensed to other companies, creating what might be considered the first innovation factory.The weakest link in the country’s innovation system is the transferring and commercializing of the results of research and development, particularly those undertaken by government-funded institutions. …