21 Dec 2007

Protecting ideas from theft ...

This article from rediff couldn't have come at a better time. Just the other day I wrote about why we need IPRs I had argued that IPRs are essential a motivating tool for showing creativity and coming out with meritorious endeavor. The example of MIT student Bose and the later pioneering Bose stereos is just an illustration to this regard. [read the rediff article here]

However, legally speaking, it is worthwhile to point out that this news-article requires two qualifications;

(1) IPR law does not protect ideas but protects expression. Therefore even if you have an idea but do not translate it into a material object i.e. a painting or a model or the actual object you are thinking about, there cannot be any protection afforded to it. So if you have a model in mind and tell if to your friend, who actually goes on to make that model even before you do, it is his model that will get protection and not yours. Be, be vigilant. Do not publicize your ideas unless you have a ready mix and concrete stereotype ready of what you have been thinking about.

(2) Secondly and unfortunately, all ideas and objects cannot be given protection under the IPR laws. As I had talked in the earlier post, these laws prescribe qualifying criteria for being amenable to IPR protection. The most common criteria being (especially as far as Patent law is concerned) is the requirement of 'industrial application' or 'utility' i.e. the stereotype you invented actually serves some useful purpose. It is only upon the satiation of this requirement that patent protection to your model may be granted.

So start thinking, invent, fulfill the criteria and be proud owners of the patent and earn money by leasing it out to giant corporations or open one yourself, like Bose did.

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