National Competitiveness Council Meets To Set Agenda For Improving Nigeria’s Business Environment: Distinction between Copyright and other Similar Legal Rights


National-Competitiveness-Council-Meets-To-Set-Agenda-For-Improving-Nigeria’s-Business-EnvironmentDistinction between Copyright and other Similar Legal Rights

1.  Copyright law covers the creative or artistic expression of an idea. Patent law covers inventions. Trademark law covers distinctive signs which are used in relation to products or services as indicators of origin, as does (in a similar fashion), Trade dress. Registered designs law covers the look or appearance of a manufactured or functional article. Trade secret law covers secret or sensitive knowledge or information.

2.Although copyright and trademark laws are theoretically distinct, more than one type of them may cover the same item or subject matter. Titles and character names from books or movies may be trademarked while the works from which they are drawn may qualify for copyright.

3.Another point of distinction is that a copyright (and a patent) is generally subject to a statutorily-determined term, whereas a trademark registration may remain in force indefinitely if the trademark is periodically used and renewal fees continue to be duly paid to the relevant jurisdiction’s trademarks office or registry. Once the term of a copyright has expired, the formerly copyrighted work enters the public domain and may be freely used or exploited by anyone.

If a pictorial, graphic or sculptural work is a useful article, it is copyrighted only if its aesthetic features are separable from its utilitarian features. A useful article is an article having an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not merely to portray the appearance of the article or to convey information. They must be separable from the functional aspect to be copyrighted.

It is legal in several countries including the United Kingdom and the United States to produce alternative versions (for example, in large print or braille) of a copyrighted work to provide improved access to a work for blind and visually impaired persons without permission from the copyright holder. SEE MORE ON PAGE2

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