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Intellectual 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.
Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.

Intellectual property is divided into two categories:



Infringement of intellectual property rights

A publisher may own copyright in a book, which has been reproduced and sold without his or her consent, at a cut price.
A sound producer, who has invested large amounts of money, in terms of talent and technical skill, in producing a record, sees that copies of it are sold on the market, at cheap prices, without his authorization, hence jeopardising his investment.
Someone else’s trade mark may have been used by a company on similar or identical goods of lesser quality, harming thus the reputation of the legitimate owner, and inflicting on him or her serious financial loss, let alone exposing customer’s health to danger.
Somebody may be using the geographical denomination of “Roquefort” on cheese manufactured elsewhere than in the region of Roquefort in France, thus deceiving the consumers as well as taking away business from legitimate producers.
In all such cases intellectual property rights (i.e. copyright, related rights, trademarks, geographical indications) have been infringed. It is important that in such cases enforcement mechanisms be called into play to protect not only the legitimate interests of the rights of the owners, but also of the public.

Enforcement Measures

Enforcement is an essential component of intellectual property laws. It may seem trite, but nevertheless so true, to state that laws that are not enforced or implemented are like tigers without teeth. This is why the TRIPS Agreement, as well as national laws, provide for a variety of methods designed to ensure that rights are enforced in an efficient manner. These methods include:

  1. Provisional measures, such as search of premises and seizure of suspected infringing goods as well as equipment used to manufacture them;
  2. Civil remedies, such as monetary compensation and destruction of infringing goods;
  3. Court orders to stop the violation that has taken place or prevent it from happening;
  4. Criminal sanctions, such as imposition of fines and imprisonment; and
  5. Border measures, designated to stop the release into circulation of suspected imported infringing good

Should you suspect that your intellectual property rights have been violated, it would be advisable to seek professional help form a lawyer or specialized institutions in your country.