5 Important Types of Property Rights Covered by TRIPS under Intellectual Properties

iii. Trade marks

iv. Copyrights and related rights

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All these Intellectual Properties can be protected in one way or another.

1. Patents:

Inventions are protected if they are new, non-obvious and industrially applicable. The TRIPS Agreement requires that at least 20-year patent protection be available for all inventions, whether of products or processes, in almost all fields of technology.

Inventions may be excluded from patent ability, if their commercial exploitation is prohibited for reasons of public order or morality. Otherwise, the permitted exclusions are for diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical methods, and for plants (other than microorganism’s processes).

Plant varieties, however, must be protectable either by patents or by an effective sui generis system (such as the breeder’s rights provided in the conventions of UPOV, the Intellectual Union for the Protection on New Varieties of Plants). Compulsory licensing and governmental use of patents without the authorisation of the patent owner are subject to detailed conditions.

Rights conferred in respect of patents for processes must extend to the products directly obtained by the process. Under certain conditions, alleged infringes may be ordered by a Court to prove that they have not used a patented process.

2. Industrial designs:

Industrial designs are, for example, applicable in the field of textiles, motor cars and electronics. The designs are ornamental. Industrial designs are protected, under the Agreements, for a period of not less than 10 years.

Owners of protected designs must be able to prevent the manufacture, sale or importation of articles bearing or embodying a design, which is a copy of the protected design.

3. Trademarks:

The Agreement defines what types of signs and logos must be eligible for protection as trademarks or service marks and what the minimum rights conferred on their owners must be.

Marks that have become well- known in a particular country enjoy additional protection. More attention is paid to trade marks, particularly in the EU market, in the module about the European Union.

4. Copyright:

The TRIPS Agreement ensures that computer programmes are protected as literary words and outlines as how databases should be protected. An important addition to existing international rules in the area of copyright and related rights is the provision on rental rights.

Authors of computer programmes and producer.3 of sound recordings have the right to authorise or prohibit the commercial rental of their words to the public. A similar exclusive right applies to films, where commercial rental has led to widespread copying, which is materially impairing the right of reproduction.

Performers are protected from unauthorised recording, reproduction and broadcast of live performances (bootlegging) for no less than 50 years. Producers of sound recordings must have the right to prevent the reproduction of recordings for a period of 50 years.

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