Intellectual property law includes copy rights, brand rights, trade name rights, database rights, model rights and patents. Connected to these are rights such as portrait rights and rights to domain names.
These are rights to creations of the mind. It is not the material thing that is protected, but the ‘mental’ creation that is the origin of the thing. So, not the vase is protected, but the design of the vase. Not the DVD-disc is protected, but the film on it. ‘Intellectual’ is used as opposed to material. A person can be the owner of a material vase, without being the owner of the design (the creation) of the vase. A person can be the owner of a DVD-disc, without owning the intellectual property rights to the film on it.
The same goes for books, photo’s, software, fashion designs, industrial design, furniture, TV formats and designs of buildings. Inventions can also be protected. By registering them as patents. The name of a company or institute (the ‘trade name’) is protected. Brands are protected if they have been registered.
Protection through an intellectual property right means the maker can prohibit others from using his creation. This right can be, and often is, transferred or licensed. In that case, whoever receives the rights can exercise them.
We know all about intellectual property rights. How they are created, who owns them (for instance, the employer or the employee), how they are to be transferred, how they can be upheld, how they are lost, how they can be protected in the digital environment and how one can sue about them.