Some people dedicate years or even decades on an invention that could change the world. Some people strike upon a genius idea in a “eureka” moment. The idea behind patents is that those inventors deserve to be rewarded for their hard work as well as for their insight. In exchange for sharing their invention with the world, patent holders get the exclusive rights (for 20 years) to make and sell or otherwise distribute their invention.
Imagine a swoosh. Odds are, you’re thinking of that famous trademark! A trade mark is a symbol that represents the products of a specific company. It’s like your signature: a sign that sets you and your things apart from everyone else. A trademark can include letters, numbers, colours, illustrations, designs, and can even consist of sounds! Think of the roaring lion of the MGM intro - that roar is a trademark. Just like you wouldn’t want someone to forge your signature, trademarks are unique symbols that need to be protected.
Design encompasses the appearance of any product (or even part of a product) - the shape and colour, the materials used, the packaging -, so pretty much any item you make can be registered as a design. But design is even broader than that! It includes logos, maps, fonts, get-up and more. The design does not have to be beautiful, attractive or artistic; it simply has to be different.
You’ve probably heard of Prosciutto di Parma, right? Well it comes from the region of Parma, Italy that’s the only place where this ham is made. This is thanks to its Geographical Indication, which protects products that have a certain quality or standard due to where they’re from. Other examples: Roquefort Cheese from France and Nürnberger Bratwürste from Germany!
Copyright is a set of rules that protects artistic and literary works. Think movies, music, poems, paintings, comics, etc. It’s basically your right to be the only one who decides who can use your work. For example, say you write a song. Unless you give permission, no-one else can copy it or say it’s their song. It’s your song. Of course if you want, you could give someone else permission to perform it or record it. Under copyright law, it’s your decision.
The latest tracks you’ve been listening to are copyrighted - but don’t let that stop you from singing along!
delicious foods and drinks from locations all over Europe are protected by their geographical indications.
The name of your local education centre is trademarked, so there can only be one!
Choose carefully what you chew - there are
different registered streetlight designs
Ideas don’t just live inside our heads, they live all around us! Our world is made up of uncountable ideas turned into reality. Intellectual property is the way to power those ideas, protecting and supporting them on their journey to reach millions of Europeans.