Intellectual property management

Awareness of intellectual property (IP) and intellectual property rights is essential for all types of organizations. It ensures to manage, protect and exploit intangibles, obtain freedom to operate, and defend against counterfeiting and infringement. The relevance of intellectual property and intellectual property rights should be understood by the whole organisation.

Intellectual property is fundamental for:

  • ensuring the use of innovations;
  • innovation strategy;
  • orientation of internal research programmes; facilitating and structuring R&D partnerships;
  • negotiating position for equitable collaborative partnerships;
  • creating growth and the capital value of the organisation.

In the IMS, the main areas related to IP are the followings:

  • context: monitoring developments in national IP legislation and jurisdiction worldwide and identifying and monitoring differences in laws related to IP originators, protection and registration;
  • IP strategy as a component of the innovation strategy;
  • culture: raising awareness (including training if necessary) of employees and top management dealing with IP (freedom to operate, protection, value enhancement);
  • appointment of the person or team responsible for implementing an IP strategy and management of the portfolio of associated rights;
  • developing tools and resources to ensure traceability of the inventive process and to provide proof of who is the originator and the date of the idea;
  • innovation process to safeguard innovation and operating risks relating to the IP of third parties;

In general, intellectual property can be protected by legal means in Hungary. The main instruments are:

  • trade secret
  • know-how
  • patent
  • utility model

Naturally, one of the most practical and cheapest solution will be to treat the intellectual property as trade secret. On this basis, we can quickly fill the market with products or services and satisfy customers’ need. By the time the rivals develop their products and enter the market with it, you can achieve further successes with an improved version of the product, or with reduced prices.

One of the examples of use of trade secret is the automotive industry. It is with purpose that the new car prototypes, as well as their components are under strict secret rules until their official introduction. 

„Business secrets shall comprise all the facts, information, conclusions or data pertaining to economic activities that, if published or released or used by unauthorized persons, are likely to imperil the rightful financial, economic or market interest of the owner of such secrets, provided the owner has taken all of the necessary steps to keep such information confidential”. (Ptk. 2:47. §/1)

The same legislation regulates know-how which has close similarity to trade secret. According to the Hungarian law, this means that such knowledge is protected by law even if we have not made any other industrial know how, technical, economic, organizational knowledge or experience, and the combination of the two with a certain value registered to enable identification legislative protections. Its condition, however is that this knowledge be documented to enable identification.

Know-how: „Technical, economic, or organizational knowledge or experience or the combination of the two, with a certain value, registered to enable identification. It falls under the same protection with trade secret if it is gained, communicated with a third party, published or is utilised in a way contrary to good faith and fair dealing.”  (Ptk. 2:47. §/2)

Contract of confidentiality: Contract signed by interested parties where they undertake to keep technological, economic etc. secrets generated by common work or perceived in other ways.

For violating the contract there is obligation to pay compensation.

Invention-patent

Conditions for registration of patent:

  • technical solution
  • new (worldwide)
  • based on inventing
  • can be used in industry.

Those comprising all the above conditions can be regarded an invention.

Patent is an invention which is protected by patent registration.

The patent is valid for 20 years after its priority time (priority day is normally the day when the patent was submitted). Patent procedure takes a long time, usually years. If the patent is registered, however, patent rights normally apply from the priority day retrospectively.

It means that you can handle your invention during the procedure as if it was protected. You can use, publish, apply it. It is another issue what happens if the patent will not be supported - then information open to public can be used by everyone.  

Utility model

If the intellectual property is an object you can apply for a utility model for its design, structure, or arrangement of its elements, provided that it is:

  • new,
  • based on inventory activities
  • susceptible to industrial application.

These conditions are very similar to those of the patent. Therefore, it is of no surprise that utility model is often called „little patent”. However, there are important differences. While utility model can apply for only an object, patent can be given to many other things, such as technology, recipe, plant type etc., as well.

In case of a patent, inventory step means that based on the status of technics it is not evident for a professional. In case of utility model, it means that based on the status of technics, it is not evident for an expert in the given subject. 

The difference is between professional (in general) or expert in the given field.

Trademark

  • officially registered (listed) mark
  • important: graphical outlook and distinctness
  • confers exclusive rights on the proprietor
  • in case of utilization, it needs to fulfil quality requirements.

If intellectual property right is a word, composition of words, number, letter, form, colour, logo, light mark, hologram, or voice that is used for customers to distinguish our product from other products, you can apply for a trademark of them. Please note that distinctness is an important condition.

Registering a trademark cannot be asked in any areas of life. Registration is classified in categories of products. You have to define where the given products or services belong to. You can mark more categories, but each category costs an amount.

Protection of a trade mark is valid for 10 years, and for an extra cost, can be lengthened as many times as wished.

Legal protection of designs

Layout or design of industrial or handcraft products partly or in total can be subject to legal protection of design. It has to be a novelty.

If an intellectual property is an industrial or handicraft product, whose appearance is partly or totally new, then a legal protection of design can be applied for. Such product can be for example packing, preparation, graphical signs, printing letter samples, etc. Sample is regarded for example typical features of physical appearance of the product, or its decoration such as its pattern, contour, colour, form, surface.

A design is regarded a novelty if an identical design was not made public until the date of the priority day.

Geographical indication

This is the collective name of all indications which are used for the identification of geographical origin of products.

  • Besides origin it also refers to quality.
  • Important especially in agriculture and food production (e.g. wines, cheese etc).

In economy agriculture and food industry are of high importance (wine and meat industry, cheese, beers etc.). For this reason, one of the means to market success could be geographical indication and mark of origin. The country image is increased by these indications like Tokaj wine, Paprika of Szeged, etc.

It can be registered as Geographical indication.

Geographical indication is the name of an area, venue, or sometimes country which is the location of origin of the product manufactured in that given place with exceptional quality, fame, or other characteristic closely related to the given location.

Copyright

  • Rights related to the author: copyright and right of property
  • Protection period: copyright expires after 70 years of the death of the author. After the expiry date no permission by the author or his/her heir is needed for using the product. 
  • Related rights: normally applies to the mediators of the copyrighted products

Usual business-related intellectual property rights under copyright

Developed software, related documents, and databases developed by developers provided they are unique and original, and are not already under copyright.

Copyright is already created by the production of the software, therefore it is not needed to be registered.

Software are under copyright for the complete lifetime of its authors plus an extra 70 years. It is very likely that life of the software will be shorter than its protection time.

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