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What is Intellectual Property (IP)?

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. Intellectual property is divided into two categories:

  • Industrial Property includes patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications.
  • Copyright covers literary works (such as novels, poems and plays), films, music, artistic works (e.g., drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures) and architectural design. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and broadcasters in their radio and television programs.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a distinctive sign that identifies certain goods or services produced or provided by an individual or a company. Its origin dates back to ancient times when craftsmen reproduced their signatures, or “marks”, on their artistic works or products of a functional or practical nature. Over the years, these marks have evolved into today’s system of trademark registration and protection. The system helps consumers to identify and purchase a product or service based on whether its specific characteristics and quality – as indicated by its unique trademark – meet their needs.


What is an Industrial Design?

An industrial design refers to the ornamental or aesthetic aspects of an article. A design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of an article, or two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or color.

Industrial designs are applied to a wide variety of industrial products and handicrafts: from technical and medical instruments to watches, jewelry and other luxury items; from house wares and electrical appliances to vehicles and architectural structures; from textile designs to leisure goods.


What are Copyright and Related Rights?

Copyright laws grant authors, artists and other creators protection for their literary and artistic creations, generally referred to as “works”. A closely associated field is “related rights” or rights related to copyright that encompass rights similar or identical to those of copyright, although sometimes more limited and of shorter duration. The beneficiaries of related rights are:  performers (such as actors and musicians) in their performances; producers of phonograms (for example, compact discs) in their sound recordings; and broadcasting organizations in their radio and television programs.

Works covered by copyright include, but are not limited to: novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspapers, advertisements, computer programs, databases, films, musical compositions, choreography, paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, architecture, maps and technical drawings.


Examples of Intellectual Property Licenses needed in merchandise, including but not limited to:

  • Movies and TV series: Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Trek, etc.
  • Studio Productions: Walt Disney Studios (including Marvel Studio), Pixar Animation Studios, Warner Bros. Entertainment (including DC studios), Universal Studios (including minions, the Simpsons), Fox Entertainment, Sony Pictures, Paramount Motion Pictures, BBC Production, Studio Ghibli (including my neighbor Totoro), Netflix, Amazon Studios, etc.;
  • Anime and Manga: Pokemon Go, Sailor Moon, Naruto, One Piece, etc.;
  • Games: League of Legends, DOTA, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Super Mario, etc..