In 1883, the importance of intellectual property was recognized for first time in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property followed by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works in 1886. Nowadays, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to be more specific Article 27, protects the intellectual property rights that a creator or an owner of a patent or copyright has on his/her own work or investment (“What is intellectual property?” n.d.).
It is true to say that countries realized that intellectual property is a powerful tool for economic development and social and cultural welfare. Furthermore, countries wanted to promote creativity and invention especially when the interests of the innovator are the same as those of the public interest. As a result, countries created laws to protect intellectual property.
Moreover, each of us should promote intellectual property rights because of the benefits we join. For example, with the patent system an inventor of a new and highly effective drug for cancer will continue his/her research in order to produce a better and more efficient product. The results of this invention will benefit the members of the society with several ways. Patients will have more possibilities of being cured and the inventor will be rewarded for his creativity.
Intellectual property refers to the intangible property, such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade dress, which belong to a person or a company. To be more specific, it refers to the creations of the mind like: symbols, inventions, artistic works, literary, and images (“Introduction to intellectual property: theory and practice” (1997).
General speaking, intellectual property is divided into two categories:
1. Patent or industrial property, which includes trademarks, inventions, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and
2. Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works, such as poems, paintings, plays, films, musical works, novels, drawings, photographs, architectural designs, and sculptures (“What is intellectual property” n.d.).
Moreover, a patent for an invention is an exclusive right granted to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A patent provides protection for the invention to the owner of the patent for a limited period, generally 20 years from the date the application for the patent was filed in the United States and the maintenance fees were paid. Moreover, U.S. patent grants are effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions. Patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed, or sold without the patent owner’s consent. Furthermore, a patent owner can sell the right of the invention to someone else, who will become the new owner of the patent. When a patent expires the protection ends, and as a result, the invention becomes available to commercial exploitation by others (“What is a patent?” 2005).
Also, there are several types of patents but the most common are three:
1. Utility or function patents, such as a process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter,
2. Design patents, such as a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and
3. Plant patents, such as a distinct and new variety of plant (“What is patent? n.d).
Furthermore, the purpose of copyrights is to protect the expression of ideas. In other words, it protects the rights of the authors and creators in any field, such as literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. As Jennings M. (2006), states: “A copyright gives the holder of the copyright the exclusive right to sell, control, or license the copyrighted work.” (p. 624)
According to the Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act, the holder