What is intellectual property and how it works?

“Protecting your intellectual property is critical to the success of your business.”

– Michael Jordan

Entrepreneurship is a journey that many aspire to embark on, but only a few succeed in attaining their business goals. Oneway entrepreneurs can protect their business ideas and inventions by filing for intellectual property (IP) protection. Unfortunately, many individuals fail to recognize the value of protecting their IP, resulting in missed opportunities.

Businesspeople need to understand the importance of protecting their intellectual property (IP) in commerce. IP protection can prevent competitors from stealing your business ideas and increase your competitive edge in the market. It also encourages innovation and creativity by providing a legal framework to safeguard ideas and investments. IP includes inventions, works of art, symbols, designs, and other creations of the human mind. IP owners have exclusive rights to control the use of their creations, ensuring that their unique ideas and products remain their own.

Types of Intellectual Property 

There are several types of intellectual property protection, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, industrial designs, and geographical indications which are explained below:

  • Patents:

Patents are exclusive rights granted to inventors for new, useful, and non-obvious inventions. These rights enable the inventor to prevent others from making, using, or selling the invention for a specific period.

Link- PATENT eFiling (ipindiaonline.gov.in)

  • Trademarks: 

Trademarks are used to protect brand names, logos, and symbols that identify the source of a product or service. Trademark protection gives the owner exclusive rights to use the mark and prevents others from similarly using a similar mark.

Link- E-Filing of Trademarks (ipindiaonline.gov.in)

  • Copyrights:

Copyrights protect original works of authorship, including literary, artistic, musical, and other creative works. Copyrights give the owner the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, and make derivative works based on the original work.

Link- Copyright Office

  • Trade secrets: 

Trade secrets refer to confidential information that gives a business a competitive advantage, such as customer lists, business methods, and proprietary technology. Unlike patents, trademarks, and copyrights, trade secrets are not registered with any government agency.

  • Industrial designs: 

Industrial designs protect the aesthetic appearance of a product or its packaging. They can include three-dimensional shapes, patterns, and colours, among other design elements.

  • Geographical indications: 

Geographical indications protect the use of names or indications of geographic origin for products with specific qualities or characteristics that are due to their geographic origin, such as “Champagne” for sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France.

IP for Trade 

Businesses often have unique patterns and secrets that set them apart, and it’s vital to file for protection beforehand to secure these ideas and inventions from being misused by others. Neglecting to file your IP can lead to other businesses obtaining patents for them, which could be detrimental to your business.

As a newcomer in the business world, existing businesses in your field may likely attempt to gain knowledge of your business ideas and inventions. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you file for your IP protection. More and more individuals are filing for IP protection each year, as it’s the most effective means of safeguarding your business inventions. The filing process and cost are dependent on the type of IP you’re filing for. Filing and protecting your IP should alleviate some of your concerns regarding others who want to copy your ideas and inventions.

Steps to Protect Intellectual Property 

To safeguard your intellectual property (IP) from foreign competitors and imitators, it’s important to take proactive measures:

  • Conduct a thorough search:

 Before entering into any international trade agreement, conduct a comprehensive search to ensure that your IP is unique and not infringing on someone else’s IP. This search should include patents, trademarks, copyrights, and any other IP protection that may be relevant.

  • Obtain IP protection in each country: 

IP laws vary from country to country, so it’s important to obtain protection in each country you plan to do business. This may involve filing for patents or trademarks in those countries or registering your copyrights with the appropriate authorities.

  • Utilize international treaties: 

International treaties, such as the Paris Convention and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), provide additional protections for your IP in other countries. These treaties offer a standardized framework for IP protection and enforcement, making it easier to navigate the legal systems of different countries.

  • Monitor your IP:

 Once you’ve obtained IP protection, it’s important to monitor it regularly to ensure that no one is infringing on your rights. This may involve conducting periodic searches for unauthorized use of your IP, or monitoring online marketplaces for counterfeit goods.

  • Enforce your rights:

 If you do discover an infringement of your IP rights, it’s important to take action to enforce them. This may involve sending cease-and-desist letters, filing lawsuits, or working with law enforcement authorities to seize counterfeit goods.


The significance of IP protection in trade has been discussed above and following the outlined process will alleviate any concerns. By taking all the mentioned steps, you can protect your intellectual property in international trade and ensure that your business interests are safeguarded. Remember, IP protection is an ongoing process that requires vigilance and attention to detail, so be sure to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in IP law and enforcement.

Moreover, IP protection can help you generate revenue from licensing or selling your IP assets. Licensing your IP assets can be a great way to generate income without having to invest in additional resources.


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  1. Intellectual property (IP) may be a company’s most valuable asset. Firms considering exporting are to consider developing a global IP strategy that connects to their business strategy.

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