The ownership of ideas, unlike tangible assets to your business such as computers or your office, Intellectual Property is a collection of ideas and concepts.
Intellectual Property is divided to:
A Patent can only be protected if locally registered in Iran.
Patents protect processes, methods and inventions that are "novel," "non-obvious" and "useful." If granted, a patent gives you a 20-year monopoly on selling, using, making or importing an invention into Iran. The requirements for a patent are complex, but here they are in a nutshell:
Your work must be novel. This means it must not be known or used by others in the country, or patented or described in a printed publication here or abroad, or in public use or for sale in country more than one year prior to the application for patent.
Your work must be non-obvious. This means it must not be obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the pertinent art as it existed when the invention was made.
Your work must be useful. This means that it must have current, significant, beneficial use as process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter or improvements to one of these.
A copyright will protect the following categories of works:
musical works, including any accompanying words
dramatic works, including any accompanying music
pantomimes and choreographic works
pictorial, graphic and sculptural works
motion pictures and other audiovisual works
computer programs (sometimes the graphical user interface) and websites.
Copyright protects the expression of the idea, but not the ideas themselves.
Generally, the only protection for ideas and concepts is through trade secret law and/or confidentiality agreements, which provide a contractual remedy for misuse or disclosure of the idea.
A trademark is like a brand name. It is any word(s) or symbol(s) that represent a product to identify and distinguish it from other products in the marketplace. A trademark word example would be "Rollerblades." A trademark symbol would be the peacock used by NBC.
The (TM) mark may be used immediately next to your mark. The ® registration symbol may only be used when the mark is registered with the Trademark Registry Org.
Trademark rights last indefinitely if the company continues to use the mark to identify its goods or services. When the mark is not being used for minimum three years, the registration can be terminated by request of any third party. The initial term of federal trademark registration is 10 years, with 10-year renewal terms.
There is a great deal of confusion regarding trade secrets. Many people think that a trade secret is some type of protection provided by the government that allows them to seek recourse in court should someone infringe upon their idea. However, unlike copyrights, trademarks and patents, a trade secret is not registered with any government office to provide a verifiable public record of any claims to the secret. You can, however, declare one to a patent lawyer in a notarized and signed disclosure. In this manner the trade secret belongs to you forever--or until someone leaks it.
Trade secrets refer to items such as recipes that are unique and provide a business with a competitive advantage, but which cannot be safeguarded under current forms of idea protection such as copyright, trademark or patent. The best form of protection for these items is to keep them a secret. One of the most famous and best-kept trade secrets is the formula for Coca-Cola.
The best way to secure the information for a trade secret is to restrict access to the secret and have individuals and companies sign nondisclosure agreements with you should you enter into a relationship with them which will require them to know some aspects of the secret. If someone independently develops or reverse-engineers your trade secret, there's nothing you can do. If someone does leak it, you can sue for theft. Suing, however, cannot stop the person from using the leaked information. So although you may get money from the suit, you lose the larger potential profits you could have made from the idea. Still, if your luck holds and your trade secret remains secret, royalty income from it can last significantly longer than the patent period.
For more questions on IP rights in Iran contact us.
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