Successful entrepreneurs and businesses invest most of their efforts, knowledge and resources to develop and market a product or service which is distinctive, sought after and potentially profitable. Therefore, it is vital for any person or company to protect their ideas, together with safeguarding the branding and the essence of their service or product. To do so, they must be mindful of their intellectual property rights (“IPRs”) and of the different mechanisms provided in to exploit such rights to the best of their abilities.
What are IPRs?
IPRs are the proprietary rights belonging to creators (or owners) over their intellectual (or intangible) assets, such as: inventions, literary and artistic works, trade name, designs, marks and logos, among others. IPRs allow the owners to safeguard their interests and to benefit from intellectual assets by providing them with different forms of protection at law.
Inherently, such protection generally results in ‘negative rights’ which essentially prohibit others from taking certain actions (for example not to display or sell your product without authorisation) - in a specific territory for a specified period. It is noteworthy that IPRs are not universal and vary from country to country, although there are international treaties and organisations in place which ensure conformity and standardisation of processes relating to the registration and enforcement of such rights.
The most recognised IPRs include:
- Copyrights – protection over literary and artistic creations (such as texts and audio/visual works);
- Trademark – protection over signs and marks (such as logos and tradenames);
- Patents – protection over inventions having a practical use (being products or processes);
- Designs – protection over the aesthetic features of a product (such as the shape or pattern).
How can BDO help?
Our Legal Advisory services team is equipped to support our clients and provide you with the right guidance regarding the exploitation and protection of your intellectual property and IPRs. Our assistance may be sought in several instances and include, among others:
- Advising on the IPRs which may be applicable to your service or product
- Protecting your creations by registering them with the competent authorities in Malta and abroad
- Safeguarding your intellectual property interests within commercial transactions such as the transfer of businesses or acquisition products.
Contact our team of experts today to learn more about how we can assist you with your intellectual property requirements.