Tutorials Explain Intellectual Property Rights

Presentations explain IPR topics simply, minus the typical legal jargon

7 May 2008

Three new online tutorials that cover the ins and outs of U.S. copyright, trademark, and patent rules and regulations have been added to the IEEE Intellectual Property Rights Office’s Web site. The PowerPoint presentations try to explain the IPR topics simply, minus the typical legal jargon, relying on animated images to make the information lively.

“We attempted to make otherwise stuffy subjects much more accessible,” says Bill Hagen, manager of the IPR office.

BACK TO HENRY VIII The copyright tutorial gives an overview of copyright laws and their history, which date to 1518, when England’s King Henry VIII granted the first copyright to his printer, Richard Pynson. The tutorial also deals with works besides articles and books that can be copyrighted, including artwork, dance performances, movies, and music.

Another tutorial delineates the material that can be trademarked, such as acronyms, conference names, logo designs, and publication titles. Trademarks are valid for a limited number of years unless they are renewed. Those registered before 1989 must be renewed every 20 years, those registered afterward must be renewed every 10 years. Also described is how to register a trademark in the United States, a process that can take up to two years.

The patent tutorial covers international patent history and explains the different types of patents, including the utility patent, which protects machines, and the method patent, for a process that transfers materials from one form to another. Also discussed are things to consider when applying for a patent, not the least of which is whether there’s a market for your invention. Getting a patent may be more trouble than it could eventually be worth.

These three tutorials join a presentation discussing how IEEE authors can avoid and report plagiarism put up last year on the IPR Web site.

If you have a suggestion for an IPR topic you’d like to see featured in this tutorial series, send an e-mail to Bill Hagen at w.hagen@ieee.org.

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