Secrets of Intellectual Property

A Guide for Small and Medium-Sized Exporters

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Guide in form of questions and answers dealing with intellectual property (IP) issues, aimed at small and medium-sized exporters and trade support institutions – explains basic concepts and principles regarding patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright, confidential business information, and geographical indications; covers questions relevant to ownership of rights by employees, contracting, licensing and technology transfer; highlights importance of IP issues when drawing business, marketing and export plans and strategies, and deals with IP rights protection abroad; looks at link between IP and quality regulations and standards, packaging and labelling, electronic commerce and use of information technology; considers valuation and financial aspects of IP rights; focuses on the application of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement).

English Spanish, French


Who owns the intellectual property rights when an invention, design or creative work is developed by an employee?

Businesses often rely on employees and independent consultants to develop their intellectual property (IP) assets, and assume that they automatically own the rights on those assets, according to the principle ‘I paid for it, therefore I own it’. This may be a software program, an article, a script, architect’s plans and drawings, a new logo, a new product or process, product packaging, a new product design, a business plan, an invention, and the output of many other types of creative endeavours. Who owns the right to the work that employees create: the individual creator, or the company who employs them? The answer to this question is not always easy or clear; it may vary a lot from one country to another, and in a given country depending on the law and the facts and circumstances of a particular employer–employee relationship.

English Spanish, French

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