Table of Contents
Intellectual Property refers to the law regulating copyright, patenting and trademarks. These three are often referred to as intangible interests but are well protected by the law. They are ideas that belong to individuals and any usage of these ideas is protected from sale or manipulation without the consent of the original owner. Exclusive rights to these creations of the minds of the artists are only left to the people or person registered under the idea. Examples of material that is protected through these means include books, music, artwork, poetry, symbols, letters, phrases and many more. Te development of the intellectual property is usually done by people with extra-ordinary abilities. If they are not protected or not accorded the ownership of their idea, they might end up getting nothing out of it . For instance, an important and effective mathematical formula developed by a student may be patented or copyrighted to the student. Any payments that are made for the usage of the formula should reach the student after the deductions made by the government in form of taxes. Also, an organization would patent their logo to ensure that no one can use it without the authorization from the institution. If One uses the logo to enrich himself or herself, then he can be prosecuted in a court of law. This ensures that the organization prevents its image from illegal businesses that could hurt it in the end.
The process to enhance the usage of Intellectual Property was long and marred with criticisms and resistance. To date, some activists still believe that it should be abolished and have brought forward several claims to support their arguments. First, they state that the term Intellectual Property is indefinite and though it has been widely used to define the property developed through the mind, it can still accommodate many more definitions. When attorneys use the term "intellectual property," they generally are referring to three areas of law collectively: patent, copyright, and trademark. These are all what lawyers call "intangible interests" that are defined and protected by statutory or common law.
The activists argue that the term can be used to mean trade secrets, publicity rights, industrial designs among many others. While the core issues covered include patents, copyright and trademarks, people may mask their interests in this law and get away with the confusion. The development and acceptance of the use of intellectual property law took long struggles to implement and use in the United States and still remains unpopular among some people especially scholars. This paper will delve deep into the development of the term and its usage and try to determine whether it should be upheld or should be discarded as a significant number of scholars prefer. It will also try to state the future of the law and the eminent developments that are likely to arise as a result of using it.
History of “intellectual property” during 500 B.C. (Roman Empire) all the way till the 18th century.
Intellectual Property is an old law that dates back to as early as 500 B.C. In the Roman Empire, it was used to ensure that people made innovations and excelled in their fields of work through the law. It started with the cooks and any cook that invented a new popular formula for preparing food or creating a new form of food, he was given a one year period where no other person would prepare such food. He would enjoy all the profits that came from the food he invented and any action to prepare a similar dish was punitive. In this case, chefs were always open minded and looked to improve their methods, thus increasing creativity and development of the talents held by other people. This later infiltrated into other occupations and was governed through the same law.
In the 1400s, the Italians started granting patents to people who excelled in various filds. Architects such as Filipo Brunelleschi were awarded periodic patents over the designs they developed. Particularly, Brunelleschi was awarded a patent from his barge that had a hoisting gear. The barge also carried marble along River Arno. By 1950, there were many more patents that arose from glass making industry in Venice.
During the same period, the English people had developed a system that would allow monopoly for people that developed new products. Letters were issued to these people, a notable example being that of John of Utyman who was granted a 20 year patent on his invention. This was then followed by many others as people struggled to develop new products that would lead them to getting the patent letters. The level of innovation increased and life was made easier by the interaction of the new products.
In the 1500s, the patent law had spread to more parts of Europe, as France went ahead and issued a patent to Abel Foullon in 1555. The patent for inventing a rangefinder would later expire unpublished six years later in 1561 . The procedure to issue a patent was usually controversial since it was issued by a monarchy until the current patent system was created in 1791. Patent cost was later lowered in 1844 and the importation of patents was abolished. In 1902, better publication system of patents was developed.
There are four main forms of Intellectual property. A new idea would require one or more of these in order to remain under the watch of the innovator. Whether an idea will require one, two or even all of these depends on the nature of the idea and the use it would be put into. This means that it has a wider scope than just patenting which are all geared towards ensuring that one’s thoughts and innovations benefits them accordingly. The four main forms are Patents, trademarks, designs and copyright.
A patent refers to the elements in a body that makes it perform the way it does. For instance, a worldwide brand such as coca cola has patents to their products. They have a formula that makes their products unique and inimitable. The taste of theior products is developed through a formula that is only patented under their name.
A trademark refers to the signs such as logos and words that are unique to certain products in the market. They are used to help the customer differentiate between one product and the other. No products are allowed to trade using similar labels or names in the same market niche.
Designs refer to the distinction between dissimilar products through the appearance of the logo and words on the product. For instance, a food product should be packaged in such a way that it cannot be mistaken from oil products. Designs are meant to help the customer distinguish them at a glance. Further, products should develop their own unique designs to ensure they are different from goods of similar tastes or nature.
Copyright is the law that limits the usage of other people’s work that is recorded or written without their consent. The owner of the material should control its usage and ensure that any profit is directed to him. It is most common in music and film industry.Want an expert to write a paper for you Talk to an operator now
Limitations of intellectual properties and Ethics of intellectual properties
There is harm in some sectors such as health. Patents that are issued to medicine experts may affect the health of people as there are limits regarding the development of drugs or concepts without the consent of the person holding the patent. This results into the stalling of the health sector thus endangering the lives of a large population. Further, monopolies created by intellectual property in the health sector would eventually lead to harm on the rest of the public. Concerns over patent thickets have been raised, where experts argue that there is a lot of undermining of technological advancement in fields such as nanotechnology.
There may be conflicts arising from the interaction of implementation of the intellectual property law and other human rights. This is because the intellectual property law puts economic importance of the said product ahead of any other social or cultural rights. This creates rifts since the society should have a fair share of the benefits and not the economic goals being attained without considering the negative effects on the society. These laws bar the society from benefitting from the rights of the people to health, food, as well as benefits achieved from scientific developments.
The Intellectual property law further prevents people from gaining from what other people have achieved. This creates an artificial scarcity and could lead to the deterioration of the society other than progressing. When a person discovers a good way of overcoming difficulties within his society, then decides to use Intellectual Property law, he bars the rest of the people who suffered together with from improving their lives, which does not benefit the people. In any case, social rifts are created as the person is seen as an evil person by the rest of the people.
Ethical Issues as a result of intellectual property arise when there is a limitation on improving the current social status. Limitations in fields such as medicine, food production, and other essential sectors often lead to the reduction of possibilities of getting a better world. At the same time, monopolies that result from the law end up selling their products at a relatively higher price, and barring any other entrant, who could have better prices, into the same market.
Intellectual Property in England
Intellectual property has been developed in the last two centuries to accommodate the dynamic world. It was defined in modern terms in 1867 when the North German Confederation passed a constitution that gave legislative strength to the idea of intellectual; property. The secretariat that was to oversee the process was created in 1883 during the Paris convention, but was later combined by the Berne Convention in 1893 to create a new organization altogether. The agreements signed at this point were to be later strengthened in 1980.
The English patenting system started with grants from Queen Elizabeth I between 1558 and 1603. It was after the reign of the Queen that the rules regulating the usage of other peoples’ ideas was to be regulated, by ensuring that mechanical and scientific inventions were well guarded by law. It was to be included in the common law rather than just the royal prerogative it was earlier perceived to take. Later, patent letters were introduced and people with unique ideas were allowed to become monopolies. No other person could produce similar goods or services. This was followed by a tradition of English Crown becoming the patent issuing body. Patents were therefore issue to people who were ready to pay for them, and not solely those with unique ideas. The patent letters were referred to as letters lie open and could be read by anyone, unlike letters closed that had to be read by the specific person addressed, who was mandated to break the seal. The powers given to Crown were largely abused and raise money for the company. All common goods such as salt and sugar were patented and this grew into monopoly for almost everything that was of importance to the people. There was a public outcry and the court started to limit the extent to which patents could be issued and existing monopolies were revoked. It was at this point that only new inventions would be patented. It was also at this point that the period of patent was limited and conditions of originality were strengthened.
Between 1702 and 1714, when Queen Anne reigned England, lawyers proposed that there was need that the description of the patent would be submitted before any new project was patented. In 1977, a United Kingdom Patents Act harmonized the laws to fit into those of the European Patent Convention. To date, the UK and EU patent longevity has remained at 20 years. It also fits that from the declaration by Henry VI. The new British laws were later used in the United States during the development of their Intellectual Property policies. British laws on patenting was a major contributor to the current American Intellectual Property today.
Intellectual Property in the United States
The United States intellectual property laws were mainly developed from the UK system. By the end of he 19th century, book authors, poem writers and musicians needed protection. However, there was need to ensure that the protection did not limit the number of people the piece of art was intended to reach. The courts ruled that these copyrighted material could only be protected in substance and not in form alone. It required that the author authenticate about and effort before he could be awarded with a patent. Translation of such material was therefore not regarded as new work but just the form of the old patented work. In the modern world, copyrighted owners have the control over their translated material and not the original form alone. Development of a similar or near similar product from the first is known as infringement and would include developing a movie from a book, using characters or plots similar to an existing piece of work among others. However, the court ruled that photographs could be copyrighted. Further, any recorded music and recorded performances would be guarded by the patent. In the recent past, new products such as the computer software, architectural designs and music recordings were added to the list of products that could be copyrighted. They were protectable works.
In the 1920s, the role played by advertising in the economic sector increased and the need to protect the material used to advertise was increased. Adverts were supposed to be unique and never close to be likened by their competitors ads. These guidelines have been revised to suit the different situations that have been experienced. Though critics still argue against the use of the intellectual property, its importance and inevitability will always lead to their need. American policies have now put in place this law and is among the best in the world.
Historical trends in intellectual property and their causes
Since the inception of the idea of intellectual Property which dates back to the ancient Greek Empire, there has been many changes that can only be explained through the dynamism of the society. In the early years, logical thinking was preferred and there was no strict guidance from the law. The Greeks had a one year patented period for the cooks who discovered new cooking methods. The biggest profession of the time was cooking for the rich people and this grew to become a fancied profession.
As time progressed, there were other issues that had to be looked into for the smooth running of the patent law. The emergence of scientific innovations was inevitable as people started to question the natural occurrences. As a result, research intensified and people started to struggle and look for means to improve their lives. Further, more people from diverse sectors had the innovation skills and they needed to have more elaborate regulations that governed patent law.
The increase in population and improvement of the education systems in the world led to the need for people to have better laws and dispute resolution mechanism. Constitutions and international conventions were therefore created and institutions to govern them were also created. They ensured that the law and order was followed and those who went against it were punished. As this happened, the need for intellectual property to articulate with the rest of the laws and social guideline became eminent. Some of those that had been mandated to control the patenting process became gluttonous and used their positions to enrich themselves and oppress the poor. A good example was the English Crown that was supposed to issue patent letters. They abused their powers and patented even the basic goods to create monopolies. These patents were issued to people who paid the company money. Shortages were created and public outcry led to the revision of the laws and regulations. This had to be done to restore sanity and better regulations had to be developed to reduce the occurrence of such abuses. Such an example led to the need for structures of the people to accommodate the new intellectual property in coexistence with the other humanitarian laws that affected the society.
The growth in globalization has also led to the changes in the intellectual property laws and regulations. During the ancient times, the innovations were only used within a single country or location, unlike today where an innovation is used in the whole world. Traditionally, a product was patented in one country with no regard of what was happening in other countries. This created problems in France when people used to buy patented products from other countries and brought them into France as theirs. This eventually led to the banning of imported patents. The country had to change their patent laws since there were many issues that they could not solve on their own. Today, patents are almost global. Academic experts have even created other forms of patenting where any borrowed information in academic work is cited. Failure to do this is punished by examiners and termed as plagiarism. As the world is fast becoming a small village, largely due to the increase in economic ties across international borders, the need to ensure uniformity, especially across trading blocs has become important. The United Kingdom had to align their policies along with the rest of the European market, which shows the importance of international relations.
Increase in population and competition for diminishing resources has resulted into the scrambling for the few available opportunities. With the growth in population, increased innovations along near-similar products, there has been a challenge in determining the original ideas. The internet use has also led to increased insecurity from theft of restricted material since competition for the available resources has been on the rise. This has eventually resulted into the need for better regulations on intellectual property in order to ensure that innovations help and benefit their original developers. When new ideas are used by other people to enrich themselves, other than the innovator, they are highly likely to kill the morale for the innovator.
Finally, intellectual property law is inevitable in the current world. This is because failure to acknowledge the developers of new products will lead to underutilization of peoples’ abilities. They will be discouraged to put forward their thoughts because at the end of it all, other people would probably benefit. There is need to ensure that this spirit of innovation does not die especially in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, technology, food production among others . The dynamism in the society requires that these sectors improve every day as new diseases emerge with climate changes and mutation of causative organisms. Secondly, the need to ease the process of doing things is getting important to ensure that one carries out as many tasks as possible within the shortest time. Finally, the increasing population which is putting extra pressure on land thus leaving the need to develop better farming methods to feed the population on the finite land resource. Intellectual property should therefore be upheld at all cost and any legal framework to make it articulate with the socio-cultural aspects of the people developed.