Protection of Intellectual Property
Intellectual property is any original product of human thought.
Increasingly, in industrial societies, policy makers and academics are
placing more and more importance on intellectual property as a major
factor in the health of our economies. The current emphasis upon the
importance of the knowledge-based economy emphasizes the importance of
identifying and protecting intellectual property and the ownership of
inventions, creations and ideas.
Unique creations of human intellect are infinite in number and diversity,
and defining what constitutes intellectual property is, therefore,
difficult and, at times, controversial. When they are defined, however,
forms of intellectual property include inventions, trademarks, industrial
designs, trade secrets and geographic names. All of these manifestations
of intellectual property can be protected, while still allowing for
creativity and ensuring the exchange of ideas.
In Canada, the most familiar tools for intellectual property protection
are the trade secret, trademark, copyright and patent. Some of these are
more effective and official than others, and are maintained and enforced
in different ways. They are all vital components in the innovation
process, however, and each inventor, innovator or creator needs to know
about them and the rights they hold over their intellectual property. In
this section we expand upon these avenues for protection, as well as the
controversy that often accompanies them.
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