Intellectual Property – Industrial Property and Copyright

In the material bellow you will find a brief introduction in intellectual property, industrial property (what is the difference between them?) and copyright.

Industrial property legislation is part of the wider body of law known as intellectual property (IP) which refers broadly to the creations of the human mind. IP rights protect the interests of innovators and creators by giving them rights over their creations. In another order of ideas the intellectual property consists in two subsections: industrial property & copyright.

The Convention on Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (1967) (WIPO) does not seek to define IP, but lists the following as protected by IP rights:

  • Literary, artistic and scientific works;
  • Performances of performing artists; phonograms and broadcasts;
  • Inventions in all fields of human endeavor;
  • Scientific discoveries;
  • Industrial designs;
  • Trademarks, service marks, and comercial names and designations;
  • Protection against unfair competition; and
  • „all the other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields”.


The importance of protecting IP was first recognized in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883)  and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886). Both treaties are administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Countries generally have laws to protect IP for two main reasons:

  • To give statutory expression to the rights of creators and innovators in their creations and innovations, balanced against the public interest in accessing creations and innovations;
  • To promote creativity and innovation, so contributing to economic and social development.

Intellectual property is divided in two branches, Industrial property and Copyright.

Industrial Property

The broad application of the term „industrial property” is set out in the Paris Convention.

Industrial property takes a range of forms, the main types of which are outlined here. These include patents for inventions, industrial designs (aesthetic creations related to the appearance of industrial products), trademarks, service marks (commercial marks), layout-designs of integrated circuits, commercial names and designations, geographical indications and protection against unfair competition. In some cases, aspects of an intellectual creation, although present, are less clearly defined. What counts then is that the object of industrial property consists of signs conveying information, in particular to consumers, regarding products and services offered on the market. Protection is directed against unauthorized use of such signs that could mislead consumers, and against misleading practices in general.


Copyright relates to literary and artistic creations, such as books, music, paintings and sculptures, films and technology-based works (such as computer programs and electronic databases). In certain languages, copyright is referred to as authors’ rights. The expression authors’ rights refers to the creator of an artistic work, its author, thus underlining that, as recognized in most laws, authors have certain specific rights in their creations that only they can exercise, which are often referred to as moral rights, such as the right to prevent distorted reproductions of the work.

Source: WIPO