Article submitted by Barry K. Rothman.
IP, or Intellectual Property, describes the inventions, ideas, artworks, technologies, literature and music, which are intangible in the beginning, but as products they gain a form that is tangible. They are generally a product of the mind: literary, inventions and works created by artists. Commerce designs, names and symbols are also part of Intellectual Properties. The main idea behind them is that inventive ideas should be rewarded and encouraged.
They are well integrated in the knowledge economy and they offer plenty of challenges to governments, industries, researchers and scholars.
Overall, these IP rights include a number of independent Intellectual Property right, like: Copyrights, Patents, IC layout design protection, Registered Trademarks and Geography indications.
Usually, IP rights are territorial. The exception is usually the copyright. The copyright has a global nature, in all the countries that signed the Berne Convention. The state is the one that gives these rights and the person or company that registers them is the only one that has the right to use those rights. They can be used by others only if they have the consent of the entity that holds the rights. These rights need to be renewed on a regular basis, so that they remain active.
The main problem of IP rights is that they increase the price of entry for medicine that saves lives and that of technologies that are critical. For example, patented medication carries with it a higher price, since the IP rights holder is the only one that has the right to make them. In lots of developing countries, where IP rights aren’t as respected, there are entire industries built around copying and using goods that they’re not authorized for. In time, every country upgrades their laws and IP rights are enforced in more countries around the globe. This is usually a consequence of outside pressure and economic development.