Copyrights and Patents

Copyrightsand Patents

Inthe business environment, the law provides platforms andopportunities that organizations can use to acquire privileges andprotect them. The law provides individuals and business units for theownership and control over their intellectual properties. In the law,intellectual parties are protected by intellectual property rightsthat are enjoyed by the creators and limit other parties fromexploiting the creations of the inventors or innovators. The two mainintellectual property rights are copyright and patents, which applyover creative works. These rights provide protection to literaryworks, inventions, images and designs by giving the creators theshield from unauthorized use. This paper will explore copyrights andpatents with a view of understanding their application through casestudies.


Acopyright is a legal right that is provided to the creators ofmusical, literary, artistic and variety of other works to safeguardtheir use of the creations. Copyrights prevent any unauthorized useof the protected material through any means that infringes the rightsguaranteed by the copyright. Therefore the rights prohibit theunauthorized reproduction, translation, adaptation, commercialperformance, translation or broadcasting of the copyrighted material.Some of the creations that are protected by copyrights includecomputer software and programs, IT applications, books and literaryworks. This protection makes copyrights important in the process ofinvention, innovation and originality in the generation of new ideas.

Thecopyright prevents the copying of the creative works and does notlimit the privilege of deriving content from the protected creation.For example, the copyright of a book protects the author fromunauthorized copying of the book or duplication by unauthorizedparties. However, the right does not protect the derivation ofknowledge or content of the copyrighted material. The main idea ofcopyrights is to create an intellectual property that is duly ownedby the creator. By providing the protection, copyrights fulfill thepurpose of articulating the contributions of the creators and therights of the stakeholders who use the copyrighted material (MacQueenet al 48).

Copyrightinfringement and Case Examples

Infringementof copyright is the act of using the copyrighted material withoutauthorization by the owner of the rights. This violation is a legalinfringement that attracts a legal suit against the violator andentitles the copyright owner payment for damages caused by theinfringement. The infringement is also a criminal offense undercertain sections of the laws of every country. For instance, in theCopyright Act, section 63 of the United States, individuals or statesthat infringe the copyright law are liable for an imprisonment ofbetween six months to three years. The section also carries apunishment of fines in addition to payments to the owner of thecopyright.

Onecase study of a copyright is in the cinematograph film where aproducer owns exclusive rights to the videos he creates. Through thecopyright protection, the producer in this industry controls theimages, the video, the marketing, the sale and hiring of the film aswell as the use of the film for commercial entertainment. This makesthe producer the creator and the owner of the film, despite the manyparties and stakeholders who are involved in the film. One of thecases when a conflict arises in the industry of the film is theWarner Bros Company vs. Mark Towle (Gardner1).

Inthis case, Warner Bros successfully sued the accused for violation ofcopyrights and trademarks when he produced the replica of theBatmobile car. The car is designed in the movies produced and ownedby Warner Bros (Gardner2).Therefore, the court ruled in favor of the celebrated movie producerthat the character and the car design and model were copyrightprotected.

Anothersection where the copyrights dominate is in the publishing ofliterary works. In this industry, the publisher owns the rights ofcopyright for all the publications. In this case, no other party isallowed to reproduce the books by any means without priorauthorization from the publisher. One of the most conspicuousconflicts involving copyright relates to AuthorsGuild v. Google that stated in 2005.

Inthis case, the Authors Guild sued Google for alleged infringement ofthe copyright through the development of its search database ofGoogle books. The database is a search service by the accused thatgives users a snippet of the books they are searching, and in mostcases, gives users selected pages and samples of the real contentfrom the books (Albanese1).Therefore, the publishers through the Authors Guild feel aggrievedfrom the distribution of their content by Google in unauthorizedmeans. In the initial agreement, Google has agreed to pay around 125million dollars to pay for the infringements, but the case wasdismissed on the grounds that Google applied the concept of “FairUse” in their search database service (Albanese2).


Apatent is an intellectual property right that is exclusively grantedto an inventor to protect him from the unauthorized use of hisinvention. The patent also protects an inventor from thedistribution, sale, or making of changes to his or her inventionwithout authorization. In this case, an invention is a unique and anoriginal solution to a technological problem or need that has beendeveloped by a person for the first time (Yu31).Through the protection of the patent, the law provides an environmentthat encourages development and competition through the use of theinvention. By protecting inventions and inventors, the law alsoprovides a platform for future innovations that solve challenges inthe world.

Ingranting a patent, the inventor and the state undergo some proceduresthat seek to verify the originality and authenticity of the patent(Yu25).These procedures vary depending on the laws of each country.Similarly, the exclusive rights enjoyed by the inventor also varydepending on the country. However, the granting of patents requiresthat every claim of invention fulfills the non-obviousness andnovelty requirements. Once the patent is granted, the inventor willhave the right to license the use of the protected invention to otherparties to use. This attracts an income from the licensing in theform of royalties as agreed between the patent owner and the user.

Infringementand Case Examples

Likecopyrights, any infringement of patent rights attracts a legal suitfor damages caused by the violation of the rights. In most cases, thepatent owner seeks for financial compensation for the violation andfurther prohibition over the use of the protected invention. In somecases, an accused infringer may fight the case on the grounds ofinvalidity of the protection. However, the inventor is protected bythe law if he can prove the infringement and damages. One of theconspicuous cases of the infringement of the patent rights is theKelloggCo. v. National Biscuit Co.

Inthis case, the National Biscuit Co had secured two patents for theproduction and sale of pillow-shaped biscuits that was conspicuouslyunique to them. After the owner of the patent, Henry Perky died in1908, the Kellogg Company started producing and selling similarbiscuits. As a consequence, the heirs of National Biscuit Companysued Kellogg Company for infringing the patents owned by Henry Perky.The Supreme Court held that there was no valid patent right held byNational Biscuit Co (Justia 1). In the ruling, the judge held thatthe shape of the biscuit was the main element that defined the patentheld, and that National Biscuit Co only enjoyed functional uniquenessand not a patentable right to be protected against (Justia 1).


Toset a level playing field for invention and originality in creations,the law provided for the protection of intellectual property throughcopyrights and patents. While copyright protects creators of content,design, literary work and software, patents protect the inventors ofthe technology or items that solve the problems. Both individuals andbusiness units own copyrights and patents as a way of protectingtheir intellectual properly. Through the ownership, they can maximumbenefit from their originality by licensing their rights for incomeor development of their inventions. Any violation of copyrightsinforms of reproduction, selling, distribution, copying orduplication of any protected items and inventions is illegal.Therefore, infringement of intellectual rights attracts law suitsthat favor the owners with compensation, as a way of protecting theirintellectual property.


Albanese,Andrew. GoogleWins: Court Issues a Ringing Endorsement of Google Books.Web, Accessed September 29, 2014.&lt

Gardner,Eriq. WarnerBros. Wins Lawsuit Against Maker of Batmobile.Web, Accessed September 29, 2014.&lt

Justia,Supreme Court. KelloggCo. v. National Biscuit Co. 305 U.S. 111 (1938).Web, Accessed September 29, 2014.&lt

MacQueen,Hector., Charlotte, Waelde., and Graeme, Laurie. ContemporaryIntellectual Property: Law and Policy.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007Print

Yu,Peter. IntellectualPropertyand Information Wealth: Copyright and related rights.Westport:Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007, Print