Learning objective

After reading this component you will have the capability to explain what the main Intellectual Property tools are and what these protection tools can provide to your business. In this component you will see how Intellectual Property Protection tools could be used to strengthen the innovation potential of an SME. The component explains how non-disclosure agreements allow confidential information to be revealed. The estimated time to go through this component is approximately 45 minutes.


In our everyday life innovation partway occurs. Every product or service that we use is the result of a long chain of innovation, such as a new design or improvements that make a product look or function better. Innovation is the engine of our everyday life. To make this engine successful in our enterprise we have to see clearly what possibilities intellectual property can give us. Along with human creativity and inventiveness, Intellectual Property (IP) is all around us. No matter what product your enterprise makes or what service it provides, it is likely that it is regularly using and creating a great deal of intellectual property. This being the case, you should systematically consider the steps required for protecting, managing and enforcing it, so as to get the best possible commercial results from its ownership.1

There is an example of how common IP process is and how it pervades our everyday life. If you look around on a table, you will surely see a ball-pen. Thanks to an outstanding Hungarian inventor, László Bíró, you can find ballpen everywhere. He protected his invention by patent. Ballpen can bear with elements which act as a trademark. MP3 players are another very good example. The player is protected on a number of levels. Patent protects the use of MP3, the design of the player will bear industrial design rights, trademarks rights protect the brand of player and of course the music played by the artist bears copyright and related rights.2

If you look around, can you name three products which are protected by patent or trademark?


1 www.wipo.int/sme/en/ip_business/importance/relevant.htm
2 This information was taken from a European Project under Leonardo da Vinci Programme:

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