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The objects of intellectual property are the creations of the human mind, the human intellect. This is why this kind of property is called "intellectual" property. In a somewhat simplified way, one can state that intellectual property relates to pieces of information which can be incorporated in tangible objects at the same time in an unlimited number of copies at different locations anywhere in the world. The property is not in those copies but in the information reflected in those copies. Similar to property in movable things and immovable property, intellectual property, too, is characterized by certain limitations, for example, limited duration in the case of copyright, trademarks, and patents. [cf. Background Reading Material on Intellectual Property, World Intellectual Property Organization, 1998 Ed.]

In the Philippines, the law governing intellectual property is Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines ("IP Code"), which took effect on 01 January 1998.



Copyright is defined as the right of literary property as recognized and sanctioned by positive law. An intangible, incorporeal right granted by statute to the author or originator of certain literary or artistic productions, whereby he is invested, for a specified period, with the sole and exclusive privilege of multiplying copies of the same and publishing and selling them. [Black's Law Dictionary, p. 336, 6th Ed.]

Copyright protection extends to most artistic works, such as paintings, drawings, books, articles, periodicals, or newspapers, which are embodied in physical or tangible objects. It can also extend to artistic works which are not represented in a tangible medium of expression, such as poems, music, choreographic works, or computer programs. What the law on copyright protects, however, are not the ideas but the form or manner in which ideas are expressed.

The author of a copyrighted work is entitled to protection during his lifetime and for fifty (50) years after his death.



A trademark is a distinctive design, symbol, mark, or device which serves to distinguish products of a particular manufacturer or enterprise from products of other manufacturers or enterprises, and shall include a stamped or marked container of goods. In the same manner, a service mark distinguishes the services of one enterprise from that of the others [cf. Sec. 121.1, IP Code]. The object of the law in protecting trademarks or service marks is to permit an enterprise, upon registration of a mark, to have an exclusive right to use, share, license, or assign the mark.

The owner of a trademark is entitled to protection for a period of ten (10) years from date of issue, which may be renewed for periods of ten (10) years each.



A patent is a grant or right to exclude others from making, using or selling one's invention and includes the right to license others to make, use or sell it. It is also defined as a grant from the government conveying and securing for an inventor the exclusive right to make, use, and sell an invention for a period of time. [Black's Law Dictionary, p. 1125, 6th Ed.] Any technical solution of a problem in any field of human activity, which is new, involves an inventive step, and is industrially applicable shall be patentable. [Sec. 21, IP Code]
Protection may also be obtained under the IP Code for "utility models", or inventions in the mechanical field, and "industrial designs", which covers new ornamental appearances of an article of manufacture or handicraft.

The term of an invention shall be twenty (20) years from the filing date of the invention patent application. For utility models, the term is seven (7) years from the filing date of the utility model patent application, without any possibility of renewal, while the term for industrial designs is five (5) years from the filing date of the industrial design patent application, which may be renewed for not more than two (2) consecutive periods of five (5) years each.