An intellectual property is a term used to describe creations of human mind. The competitive and complex realm of international intellectual property can be divided into several categories, such as patents, copyright, trademarks, or industrial design. Each of these classifications provide different degrees of exclusivity in regards to the rights of use in question.
Patents are the most traditional section of intellectual property. They are granted by sovereign authorities for an invention and give the patent owner the exclusive right to a given product or technology. The number of patents granted worldwide has more than tripled since 1990. One of the main reasons behind this growth is the boom on the technology market, especially in the fields connected with computer science and online technologies. In 2022, computer technology and digital communication topped the list of technologies with the most international patent applications.
Technological innovations are not the only element of a successful product that companies seek to secure through intellectual property. Trademarks protect marketing rights such as logos, slogans and words that are associated with a company or its main products. China was, by far, the country with the most international trademark applications in 2021, followed by the United States and the EU.
This category of industrial design relates to the specific design of a product. Industrial design grants are particularly important in industries where products are manufactured on a mass scale and where sales numbers depend on the visual appeal of a product. Furnishing, packages and containers, and recording and communication equipment were the industry classes with the most industrial design applications in 2021.
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Einar H. Dyvik
Research expert covering Nordics and global data for society, economy, and politics