Intellectual property is a term referring to creations of the intellect for which a monopoly is assigned to designated owners bylaw. Some common types of intellectual property rights (IPR) are trademarks, copyright, patents, industrial design rights, and in some jurisdictions trade secrets: all these cover music, literature, and other artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs.
Why are they important?
While intellectual property law has evolved over centuries, it was not until the 19th century that the term intellectual property began to be used, and not until the late 20th century that it became commonplace in the majority of the world.
Countries have laws to protect intellectual property for two main reasons. One is to give statutory expression to the moral and economic rights of creators in their creations and such rights of the public in access to those creations.
The second is to promote, as a deliberate act of Government policy, creativity and the dissemination and application of its results and to encourage fair-trading, which would contribute to economic and social development in view of the immense commercial value of intellectual property.