Intellectual Property (IP) simply refers to the creations of
human mind which include inventions, literary and artistic works,
symbols, names and images used in commerce. There are two main
categories: industrial property right and copyright. Industrial
property right includes patents, trademarks, industrial designs and
geographical indications. Copyright covers music, films,
architectural design, literary works; such as poems, novels and
also software, and artistic works; such as drawings, paintings,
photographs and sculptures. There are also rights related to
copyright which include performing artists' right in their
performance, phonogram producers' right in recordings and
broadcasters' right in their radio and TV programs.
What's the connection between IP rights and Start-Ups?
A great deal of Start-Ups have brilliant ideas such as a new
handy mobile app, software or an invention, but the success is
beyond materialising these ideas. As it is stated above, IP rights
are a kind of holy guardian for intellectual creations and when an
idea is materialised, IP rights take the stage to provide
protection and economic benefit to its creator. However, in case
Start-Ups do not pay attention to such protection this might lead
to the failure of a brilliant idea , the infringement of IP rights
of others, and ultimately the loss of money or the whole
Ideas are important but ideas alone can't be
Ideas are the first step for IP rights but having a unique idea
does not mean that one can prevent others from using it. Ideas or
methods of doing business are not protected by IP rights.
Therefore, it is essential to materialise an idea and create a
Various types of IP protection
There are various types of IP rights and the protection differs
in each type of right. Also, there are different registry
formalities and procedures.
If a copyrighted work is created such
as a mobile app or computer software, there is no compulsory
registry and one owns the copyright and the protection at the time
it is created. Nevertheless, there is a non-compulsory registry
system at General Directorate of Copyright of Ministry of Culture
and Tourism which provides a great ease of proof. General
protection time is the lifetime of the author plus 70 years in
If an invention is created, it needs
to be registered as a utility model or a patent for protection.
Unless an invention is registered, there is no IP right and no
protection for it. Administrative body for registration of utility
models and patents is Turkish Patent Institute. Protection period
starts at the time of application for registration and lasts 10
years for utility models and 20 years for patents.
If an industrial design or a
trademark is developed, there is also compulsory registry to own
the right and enjoy the protection. Turkish Patent Institute is the
competent body for registration of trademarks and industrial
designs. Protection period for industrial designs is 5 years and it
can be renewed 4 more times to a total of 25 years protection.
Trademark registration provides 10 years protection time and it can
be renewed for an unlimited time.
These registries are in effect only in Turkey. So, if you are
planning to market your intellectual creation overseas consider
registering your rights also in the related country or
Depending on the type of intellectual creation, you may have to
provide protection before sharing your creation with the public. It
is possible for others to use your idea or creation and register it
on their behalf. Even if you do not have a marketable product, take
it serious and consider methods of legal protection.
As a young business, you may go to meetings with many of
investors, potential customers, manufacturers, companies and people
but before you start discussing your idea, creation or product,
make them sign a non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement. Even if
you go to a meeting with a big trustworthy company, have some
respect for your intellectual creation and get an agreement in
Be aware of others' IP rights
As you make out an intellectual creation, you might use or
inspire from others' ideas or creations but don't forget
others have also their own IP rights. Therefore, you have to
license the part you use. Otherwise, actions for infringement might
loom large on the horizon.
IP rights are essential for Start-Ups and most of the time they
are ignored. However, they can secure your start-up company's
future and ignoring them might even cause your company to collapse.
Therefore, it is for your benefit to take IP rights issue into
consideration starting from the very beginning of your
company's set up.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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