Intellectual property rights include human mental activity results.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, the definition includes intellectual property rights in relation to:

  • literary, artistic and scientific works
  • presentation of works by artists, phonograms, radio and television transfer
  • inventions in all fields of human activity
  • scientific discoveries
  • industrial designs
  • trademarks, service marks, trade names and designations
  • protection against unfair competition

Intellectual property protection is valid in the work’s country or territory of the work’s origin to citizens and permanent residents. A number of international agreements enable interstate recognition.

IP rights are:

Copyright – literary, artistic and scientific works. The right to authors’ works is regulated with the Copyright Act. Protection arises automatically with the creation of the work: no need to register, deposit or add protection marks.

Related rights- rights of performers, phonograms producers and radio and television organizations, which are regulated with the Copyright Act (like in Estonia) or separate laws.

Industrial property rights, which protect inventions (protected by patents or utility models), industrial designs, trademarks and service marks, trade names, geographical indications and layout-designs of integrated circuits.

Protection documents in Estonia are letters patent for invention and certificate for trade mark, utility model, industrial design, layout-design of integrated circuit and geographical indication. Protection documents are given out by an authorized institution, in Estonia it is the Patent Office.

Today, companies are more and more valued according to their IP, which forms IP portfolio including following categories:

  • marketing – registered trademarks, company name and logo, product guarantees, packaging and label design and their copyrights etc.
  • technical – trade secrets, patents, technologies of processes, formulas, etc.
  • skills and knowledge – databases, customer relations, directions, instructions, business relationships, mailinglists etc.
  • e-resources – domain names, webpages, links to other webpages, electronic databases, etc.