What is the intellectual property right
Whether novels, machines, concepts or an unusual design language - they are all the intellectual property of their creator or inventor. Copyright, patents, trademarks and registered designs can protect these so-called intellectual property.
While copyright protection and related property rights are part of cultural law, patents, utility models, trademarks and registered design describe pure commercial law. They therefore belong to the commercial legal protection.
Industrial property rights can be differentiated according to what they are intended to protect and achieve. Patents and utility models secure a new technical idea, while trademark and design law describe criteria that distinguish it from other products. All of them must be based on economic usability.
Industrial property rights are meanwhile an economic factor that should not be underestimated. For high-tech companies in particular, an extensive patent portfolio is vital.
The beginnings of intangible property rights go back a long way.
The Greek colony of Sybaris, located on the east coast of today's Calabria, secured recipes for a year in antiquity with a kind of patent against imitation. The city of Venice enacted the first patent law in the current sense in 1474. With the temporary protection of the intellectual property of an invention against others, it already contained essential features of today's patent law. England followed in 1624 with the "Statue of Monopolies", and in 1791 France.
With increasing industrialization, new industrial property rights were also in demand in the German Empire. The Imperial Patent Office was founded in May 1877, and on July 1 of the same year the German Patent Act came into force, the main features of which are still valid today.
Branded articles in the modern sense did not exist in the Middle Ages, even if the names of some beers can be traced back to this time. German trademark law goes back to the Reichsmarkenschutzgesetz (Reichsmarkenschutzgesetz) of 1874. Twenty years later, the trademark law introduced the legal term “trademark”.
In the 20th century, branded articles began their global triumph. And when the law on the protection of trademarks and other trademarks (MarkenG) came into force in 1995, the term “trademark” was reintroduced.
The oldest law of industrial property protection in force in Germany had been in force since 1876. The design law, which until then was based on copyright law, was fundamentally reformed in 2004. Since 2014 it is no longer the registered design that protects the aesthetic design, but the “registered design”.
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