Sage Africa Newsroom

Q&A with Eva Gimello – Intellectual Property Lawyer at Sage

What is Intellectual Property?

17 June 2016

  1. Could you give us a simple definition?
    “Intellectual Property means creations of the mind, in other words inventions, literary and artistic works, and names, images and logos used in commerce.
    It has two branches: Literary and Artistic Property (copyright and similar rights) and Industrial Property (patents, brands, designs and models, etc.).”

  2. We often hear the word copyright but what exactly does it mean?
    “Copyright protects artistic works (literature, music, graphics, film, etc.), computer programs and databases. This right, for the entire world (at least for the signatory countries of the Berne Convention) exists automatically as from creation of a work. In France this protection extends 70 years after the death of the creator or from publication in the case of certain works.” 

  3. What does the second branch of Intellectual Property cover?
    “Industrial Property mostly involves invention patents, brands, designs and models.  These rights are territorial and necessitate appropriate filing procedures in each country.” 

  4. Let's focus on the brand, a universal aspect of commerce:
    “A brand is a sign (words, letters, figures, images, logos, etc.) used to distinguish an enterprise's products or services from those of other enterprises. The sign must be distinctive and enables its owner to prevent third parties from using it. A brand is usually valid for ten years and renewable indefinitely.”

  5. In reality, why are these innovations or creations by enterprises protected by Intellectual Property rights?
    “Intellectual Property rights allow their holders to be rewarded for their inventive or creative activity and are of significant value to an organization, considered part of its intangible assets.
    It is because organizations benefit from this legal protection that they continue to invest in innovation, which in turn encourages economic growth, creation of new jobs and improved quality of life for all.