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Intellectual Property

Intellectual property, a major component of Intellectual Capital, is described in Chapter 4 of IT Governance: Guidelines for Directors. Intellectual property (IP) is a term used for certain legal entitlements concerning the protection and usage of recorded media (TV programmes / films / music), written works, names and inventions. IP is usually in the form of:

  • a patent
  • a copyright
  • a trademark
  • a design

Every country has its own form of copyright legislation. In the UK, the UK Patent Office provides substantial information about UK intellectual property rights ("IPR"), the Copyright Licensing Agency is a critical resource, and the World Intellectual Property Organisation ('WIPO') "promotes intellectual property throughout the world".


Copyright is primarily concerned with the right to use a certain piece of information or a particular expression. Its main principle is that it allows the copyright holder to regulate the use of the item protected by copyright.

The most visible sign that an item is protected by copyright is the symbol © which is usually clearly featured on the item in question. However, this symbol has never been legally recognised.

This is a two book set from Oxford University Press (OUP) which offers highly intelligent insights and guidance into the complex issue of copyright law. Additionally, copies of the most of the major copyright agreements and treaties, such as the Berne and Rome Conventions, are included.


Patents are generally a set of rights granted to an inventor, or to a person or organisation associated with the inventor, for a fixed period of time. These rights are granted in exchange for disclosure of an invention or idea.

Patents usually grant a period of exclusivity in which the inventor, or associated individuals/organisations, can prevent others from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing the invention. However, these rights are not the same in all countries.

There are many different international agreements and treaties governing how patents are enforced. However, these agreements or treaties are usually enshrined in local laws.

The main agreements and treaties governing the use of patents are the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) Agreement and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.


Further information on the TRIPS Agreement in particular can be found in a book called Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights: A Commentary on the TRIPS Agreement. This book distils the essence of the TRIPS Agreement making it easily interpretable by the layman as well as the legal professional.

For a more thorough country-by-country approach to the legal aspects of patents and which treaties or agreements are, in effect, within a particular country then International Patent Treaties with Commentary is essential reading. It provides country-by-country information of the particular patent laws operating in that country, as well as providing information on how to maximise your patent rights in that country.

Patent searching can often be a difficult task: you can pay third party organisations to undertake searches for you, or you can do it yourself on websites such as Google Patent Search, the UK Patent Office or the United States Patent and Trademark Office's website.

If you are looking for tried and tested methods of searching for patents, and don't want to pay a third party service provider to do searches for you, then the methods conveyed in Patent Searching: Tool & Techniques are essential.

Make sure before filing your patent, that one does not exist for an invention similar to your own, and save time and money on third party services by using the methods in this book.


A trademark is a unique and distinctive sign, or indicator of some type, which is used to distinguish a company's, person's or legal entity's products or services from other entities products or services.

Trademarks are usually names, logos, designs, symbols or words. They can also be a combination of all of the previous elements put together.

Trademark rights confer exclusive rights of usage of the trademark within a certain market to licencors. More than one organisation can have rights to use a certain trademark, however the market they can use it in is limited. An example of this would be Apple Music and Apple Computers; the trademark here being an apple symbol.

Further information on the correct usage of trademarks can be found in an authoritative manual called Trade Mark Use, which is published by Oxford University Press. This manual clearly describes the correct usage of trademarks and the laws that cover the many different aspects of trademarking.

If you are looking to correctly classify your trademarks in accordance with the Nice Treaty, which is one of the main treaties governing the world trademark system, then International Trademark Classification: A Guide to the Nice Agreement, Third Edition is the essential manual you need.

The advice included in this handy desk reference is fully in line with the ninth edition of the Nice Classification.

The above manual is written by Jesse N. Roberts, who is the administrator of trademark classification at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Licensing Intellectual Property

Many organisations choose to license their trademarks, patents and copyrights to third parties for economic and other purposes. However, if you don't understand the fundamentals of doing so, you can soon find yourself bogged down in a legal mire.

Intellectual Property Law

There are many different agreements and treaties governing the many different types of intellectual property. IT Governance have scoured the world of publishing to assemble the best selection of both practical and authoritative books on the subject.

Creating, Managing and Measuring Intellectual Property

For those who want to create a portfolio of IP, knowing where to start can be confusing and frustrating. Knowing how to protect IP, which treaties and agreements apply, and understanding the IP management process from creation to fruition are key requirements.

It is often not appreciated how much value the effective management of IP can bring to an organisation. However, this is understandable, as IP is intangible.

The methods covered include the Balanced Scorecard approach among many others. Sample case studies are given of how the methods in the book have been used successfully, including eBay and Amazon and many others.