What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property could be described as those creations of the mind which are of commercial use in respect of which the state bestows upon individuals a statutory monopoly for a definite term to preclude their unlawful exploitation. Part 11 of the TRIPS Agreement provides the list of intellectual property rights, namely copyright and related rights, trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs, patents, layout-designs (topographies) of integrated circuits and confidential information. Intellectual property is conventionally embraced into two major divisions, namely copyright and rights related to copyright and industrial property which comprises patents, industrial designs and trademarks. Rights related to copyright or as sometimes called neighboring rights embrace rights of performers, producers of phonograms (sound recording) and the rights of broadcasting organizations. The TRIPS Agreement does not address the minimum standards required as regards utility models and breeders’ rights. This entails that developing and least developed countries are not bound by the TRIPS Agreements in respect of the said two categories.

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