Types of Intellectual Property Rights

IPRs are fundamental to encouraging investment in research as without some form of protection, investors and inventors would not be able to benefit from their creative efforts. Owners of rights can prevent unauthorised use of their IP, to stop copying, to control distribution, and to retain, license or sell their IP.

A number of common IPRs are outlined in the table below
 Patents A patent protects an invention. It gives the holder an exclusive right to prevent others from selling, making and using the patented invention for a certain period (typically 20 years from filing date)
 Copyright Copyright protects the expression of literary or artistic work. Protection arises automatically giving the holder the exclusive right to control reproduction or adaptation.
 Trademarks A trademark is a distinctive sign which is used to distinguish the products or services of one business from others. Trademarks are often closely linked to brands.
 Design Protects the form of outward appearance or aesthetic style of an object. Does not protect functionality or unseen (internal) design elements.
 Database Database right prevents copying of substantial parts of a database. The protection is not over the form of expression of information but of the information itself, but in many other aspects database right is similar to copyright.
 Trade secrets A trade secret is a formula, practice, process, design or compilation of information used by a business to obtain an advantage over competitors. Trade secrets are by definition not disclosed to the world at large.