Copyright protects the independent skill labour and the effort which has been expended in producing work and prevents others from helping themselves to a large portion of that skill, labour and effort. Copyright is not a monopoly. It is the right of protection against copying. Copyright is acquired by bringing work into existence. Registration is not mandatory.
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On the other hand, intellectual property law is the law that was enacted in order to protect rights granted to creators and owners of works that are results of human intellectual creativity and which have commercial value. The private objective of intellectual property rights is to protect the right of the copyright owner in his work. Therefore the intellectual property law endeavours to regulate the creation, use and control of the work so protected.
Copyright and Patent Law Law in UK
Copyright law in the UK is presently governed by the copyright designs, and patents act 1998.
Part 1 of the Act that deals with copyright law have undergone major amendments. The latest amendment was made in 2003 to bring the Act in line with the EU directive in copyright and related rights in the information society.
For copyright to be protected, the owner (author) must have absolute rights to his/her work. In this case, the author will claim the protection of his/her work. There are various protections available for the author. These include statutory protection. Statutory protection of copyright include:-
- Subsistence of copyright. Under this, various works are eligible for copyright protection. These include:
- Literary, dramatic musical or artistic works
- Sound recording, film broadcasts or cable programmes
- Typographical arrangement of published editing
- Artistic works: Under this, the following are protected
- Paintings, drawings, sculptures, engravings and photographs are irrespective of artistic quality.
- Works of architecture, being either buildings model of buildings.
- Works of artistic craftsmanship, not included in the above category.
Work will be deemed to be copyright protection if:
- It is of a type protected by copyright under the Act.
- It is recorded in some form.
- The creator is a British citizen, or that the work was first published in the UK.
- The work meets the request degree of originality.
The 1988 Act simplifies the provisions regarding ownership of copyright, the only case where the case is a literary, dramatic or musical work does not initially rest in the author is where the work is done by an employee in the course of his employment in which case the employer is the first owner of the copyright unless there is some agreement to the contrary. The Act also introduces a concept of literary, dramatic musical, or artistic work, which is a computer-generated in circumstances in which there is a human author
The copyright owner in the UK has the exclusive right of:-
- copying the work
- issue copies to the public
- perform a show or play the work in public
- broadcast or included in a cable programme service
- make an adaptation of the work
It is copying a product that has been manufactured from drawings amounts to indirectly copying the drawings and is an infringement of copyright.
In Berstein v. Sidney Murray 1981 (K. Abbott, N. Pendle buy, Business law), where a designer copied a design and made dresses, it was held that although the dresses themselves were not protected by copyright, he had indirectly copied the sketches made by the author.
Under the 1988 Act repealed the performer’s protection Acts 1958 – 1972. Under the Act, the following people are protected:-
- Those who act, deliver, declaim, play in or otherwise perform literary, dramatic musical or artistic works.
- Those are having recording rights in relation to performance.
A patent is a name given to a handle of monopoly rights which include giving the patentee the exclusive right to exploit the invention for a given period of time. It is the right to stop others. An inventor does not need a positive right to exploit his own invention.
In the United Kingdom protection, the following is required to claim patent protection.
First and foremost on e must file an application at the government patent office if the invention has been made by an employee in the course of his employment, the employer owns the invention, and may apply for a patent with the inventor’s consent. Alternately a joint application can be made, or the employee may apply, in which case the grant will be subject to the employer’s interest.
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At the patent office, a document called a complete specification to file. It contains a description of the process of the article or the machine, including work instructions and a statement of ‘claims’ which define the scope of the invention for which the inventor seeks his monopoly. It is against these claims that only infringement is judged.
The patent office then carries research to test for novelty. According to the result of this search, the applicant may decide to abandon or modify his application or request an examination by a qualified patent office examiner. The main task of the examiner is to see that the claims of the specification describe things that are not only new but also inventive. Once the examiner is satisfied, the specification is published, and for 3 months afterwards, any interested party can object by notice to the patent office.
In the event of no opposition or failure of the object, the letters patent will be sealed, and the patentee can be in the high court of any infringement.
Once granted, the patent covers the UK is in force for four years, and it can be renewed annually for further 16 years, after which it can be extended by an application to the high court for a further five or ten years.
On applying for patent protection abroad, we must take into consideration the Paris convention for the industrial property of 1883. This procedure has been provided by World Trade Organization.
In this procedure, the novelty date of your application can be used in a foreign country to secure an early novelty date than the actual application in that country. This is allowed if carried out within twelve months of the original application. Application s made must site the priority details of the original application and supply a copy of that application. Those wishing to take advantage of this facility must be citizens or residents of states which adhere to the Paris Convention or at least of the world Trade Organization as an alternative.
- Clifford, R. 1997. “Intellectual property in the era of the creative computer program: will the true creator please stand up?” Tulane Law Review 71.
- Hewitt, S. 1983. “Protection of works created by the use of computers.” New Law I.
- Littman, J. 2001. Digital copyright. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books.
- Moore, A. 2001. Intellectual property and information control. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.