Today is World Intellectual Property Day! The definition of intellectual property (IP) is nontangible property resulting from creativity – this could be anything from a piece of art to a poem, invention or a technology code. The day is celebrated around the word in order to create awareness and education regarding IP rights. Many people are confused with the legal terms – a popular confusion is copyright and IP right. The best way to describe them is that intellectual property is the umbrella under which other rights exist, such as copyright, patents and trademarks. Here are the definitions of each:
Trademark: Intellectual property that is used for commercial use, the most common being a company’s logo.
Copyright: Intellectual property usually for literary or artistic work; for example you would copyright a drawing or a book you have written.
Patents: These are innovations or inventions in a certain industry. For example, if I was to invent the Internet today, I would be able to ask for a patent for it. A patent is a protection of this innovation.
Since this article is part of a series of articles dedicated towards startups, today I will be focusing on IP rights that might be of interest to startups and how they can be protected. Instead of doing my usual questions from readers and answers, I will list the most important IP rights for startups and where and how you can protect them.
Registering trademarks in Kuwait is under the Ministry of Commerce in KIPCO Tower – the process can take up to six months, as the logo that you want to trademark is printed in the official gazette. It is vital that you trademark your logo – keep in mind though that you would need a business license first. A tip: Because it takes a long time to trademark a logo, I usually suggest clients that they copyright the work artistically at the Kuwait National Library – in this way you can use your logo and be protected.
Location: Ministry of Commerce at KIPCO Tower
Fee: KD 250 approximately
If you are a tech startup with a mobile application or another technology that has programing, you are probably thinking that you would want to copyright the source code. Although the Kuwaiti government does provide protection for source codes through the Kuwait National Library, I would not suggest that you do this. In order to have this protection, you would need to submit your entire source code – but the code itself will continue to change periodically. Also, the source code is usually private and not shared with your clients or users unlike your logo, therefore it is not easy for people to claim it. I think it is important that you focus on owning the actual site and mobile app, as well as the designs.
Location: Kuwait National Library
Fee: KD 10
Literary or artistic work
If you have written a pamphlet, worked on a presentation or have done a few drawings or made characters you are using in your design, you can copyright them at the Kuwait National Library. The process is very efficient and quick. They also offer some international services.
Location: Kuwait National Library
Fee: KD 10 per artwork
I hope you found the above article useful. Happy Intellectual Property Day to all business owners, artists and other creatives out there! If you have a concern, please email us at [email protected]
By Attorney Fajer Ahmed