A PR Practitioners Guide to IP Laws
Ann-Marie L. Auger-Andrews
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property refers to a work or creation such as: literary and artistic works, inventions, symbols and designs, and images and names. Intellectual property are protected under laws such as copyright, trademark, and patent laws. These laws protect the inventor and allow them to earn financial benefits. (WIPO, 2016)
Items protected under copyright laws are:
- books, magazines, blogs, and newspapers
- games and software
- charts, maps, and graphs
- music and lyrics
- videos, movies, and TV broadcasts
- photos and artwork
(Lasky, Edelman, & Keen, n.d.)
"A trademark is a recognizable insignia, phrase or other symbol that denotes a specific product or service and legally differentiates it from all other products." (Investopedia, 2016)
Brand names such as Nike, Coca-Cola, and Apple are all examples of trademarks as they recognizably identify and distinguish products and services.
Patent and Patent Infringement
"A patent is a government license that gives the holder exclusive rights to a process, design or new invention for a designated period of time." (Investopedia, 2016)
"Patent infringement is the act of making, using, selling, or offering to sell a patented invention, or importing into the United States a product covered by a claim of a patent without the permission of the patent owner. Further, you may be considered to infringe a patent if you import items into the United States that are made by a patented method, unless the item is materially changed by subsequent processes or becomes a trivial and nonessential component of another product. A person "infringes" a patent by practicing each element of a patent claim with respect to one of these acts. Further, actively encouraging others to infringe patents, or supplying or importing components of a patented invention, and related acts can also give rise to liability in certain cases." (USPTO, 2016)
What is Fair Use?
Fair Use stipulates that only under certain circumstances can brief excerpts of copyrighted material can be quoted verbatim - the only instances where this is possible is for teaching, research, and news reporting purposes. In these cases there is no need for permission from the creator (copyright holder) or payment to the creator.
Investopedia. (2016) Patent Definition. Retrieved from http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/patent.asp
Investopedia. (2016). Trademark Definition. Retrieved from http://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/trademark.asp
Lasky, Edelman, and Keen. (n.d.). How to Copy "Right" and How Not to Copy "Wrong." Retrieved from
Stim, R. (n.d.). Overview of Intellectual Property Laws. Retrieved from http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/introduction/intellectual-property-laws/
Stim, R. (n.d.). What is Fair Use? Retrieved from
USPTO. (2016). About Patent Infringement? Retrieved from https://www.uspto.gov/patents-maintaining-patent/patent-litigation/about-patent-infringement
WIPO. (2016). What is Intellectual Property? Retrieved from