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Professional Issues In Computing: Intellectual Property In The Computing Industry

1035 words - 4 pages

Intellectual PropertyIntellectual property, often known as IP, allows people to own their creativity and innovation in the same way that they can own physical property. The owner of IP can control and be rewarded for its use, and this encourages further innovation and creativity to the benefit of us all.In some cases IP gives rise to protection for ideas but in other areas there will have to be more elaboration of an idea before protection can arise. It will often not be possible to protect IP and gain IP rights (or IPRs) unless they have been applied for and granted, but some IP protection such as copyright arises automatically, without any registration, as soon as there is a record in some form of what has been created.There are four main types of IP these are: -Patents for inventions - new and improved products and processes that are capable of industrial applicationTrade marks for brand identity - of goods and services allowing distinctions to be made between different tradersDesigns for product appearance - of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product itself or its ornamentation;Copyright for material - literary and artistic material, music, films, sound recordings and broadcasts, including software and multimediaHowever, IP is much broader than this extending to trade secrets, plant varieties, geographical indications, performers rights and so on. To understand exactly what can be protected by IP, the four main areas of copyright, designs, patents and trademarks as well as other IP would need to be understood better. Often, more than one type of IP may apply to the same creation.Why Software, its Documentation and Design are regarded as IPSoftware, its documentation and design should most definitely be regarded as Intellectual Property. Three main reasons that support this are: -1. Software design is a programmer's plans before his software is coded and therefore should be regarded as IP so it cannot be stolen by any rival programmers.2. A Software package when bought from a shop shows a series of "screens" displayed on a video monitor. Therefore this is a clear indication the author of the package does not want his code to be viewed and copied. If there was a way people could do this, change the code and sell the program this would not be very fair.3. Again when a software package is bought this does not mean the person owns the code; they just have a license to use it. If the customer could say they had rights to owning the code there would be a lot of people trying to sell similar programs of the one they bought.Mechanisms That Protect IPWhen a person wants protection for the material or work patents, registered designs and trademarks need to be applied for and you will only get protection if what you have is something that can be protected by these types of IP.The UK Patent Office accepts applications and grants rights in each...

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