What different types of intellectual property rights exist in this jurisdiction to protect?

Intellectual Property

Singapore Small Flag Singapore

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in confidential information and/or know-how);
Patents, trade secrets (rights in confidential information and/or know-how), copyright, registered design rights

(b) Brands (e.g. trade marks, cause of action in passing off, rights to prevent unfair competition, association marks, certification marks, hallmarks, designations of origin, geographical indications, traditional speciality guarantees);
Trade marks, cause of action in passing off, collective marks (association marks), certification marks, geographical indications

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in confidential information and/or know-how).
Copyright, registered design rights, layout-designs (topographies) of integrated circuits, plant varieties, trade secrets (rights in confidential information and/or know-how).

France Small Flag France

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in confidential information and/or know-how);
Under French law, inventions are protected by patents, supplementary protection certificates and utility certificates (art L.611-1 and L.611-2 of the French Intellectual Property Code “IPC”).

Patent rights are granted for inventions of either products or processes in any fields of technology provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are susceptible of industrial application. In addition, the development at stake should not be excluded from patentable subject matter (IPC art. L.611-10).

Inventions and relating know-how can also be protected as confidential information. The holder must justify that the know-how (i.) is secret, (ii.) is commercially valuable, and (iii.) has been subject to reasonable measures to protect its confidentiality.

Unauthorized disclosure by third party can be sanctioned by tort law, civil law (breach of a NDA or confidentiality clause) or criminal law (violation of a manufacturing secret).

It should be further noted that the EU directive, to be implemented in French law by June 2018, will provide a coherent legal framework, with a high level of protection.

(b) Brands (e.g. trade marks, cause of action in passing off, rights to prevent unfair competition, association marks, certification marks, hallmarks, designations of origin, geographical indications, traditional speciality guarantees);
Any sign capable of distinguishing the goods of one undertaking from those of another can be protected by a trademark (IPC art. L.711-1 and L.713-5).

Unfair competition or passing off can sanction the unauthorized use by a third party of an unregistered brand or any other distinctive element identifying an undertaking.

Collective trademarks protect signs which may be used by any person complying with a set of rules set out by the holder of the registration (IPC art. L.715-1).

Geographical indications protect the denomination of a region and designate products originating from it, their quality or characteristics being attributable to natural and human factors specific to the said location (IPC art. L.721-2).

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in confidential information and/or know-how).
Copyright protects original works of the mind, regardless of their kind, form of expression, merit or purpose, from the mere act of creation (ICP art. L.111-1 and L.112-1).

Neighboring rights protect:

  • performers (IPC art L.212-1);
  • phonogram producers (IPC art. L213-1);
  • videogram producers (IPC art. L.215-1);
  • audiovisual communication companies (IPC art. L.216-1).

Databases are defined as collections of works and data arranged in a methodical way and individually accessible. They can be protected either through copyright or through a sui generis right. Qualification for sui generis protection requires substantial investments in the constitution, verification or presentation of the database (IPC art. L.341-1).

Design rights protect the appearance of the whole or part of an industrial or handcraft product provided that it is new and has individual character (IPC art. L.511-1 and L.511-2).

Functional forms and designs contrary to public policy or morality are excluded from registration.

In France, design can be protected through national or European registration, it being specified that European law also provides with unregistered design rights.

Semiconductor rights protect topographies reflecting an intellectual effort and uncommon (IPC art. L.622-1).

Plant variety right protect new, distinct, stable and sufficiently uniform plant breeding (ICP art.L623-1).

Portugal Small Flag Portugal

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in confidential information and/or know-how);
R: In what refers to inventions, the Portuguese jurisdiction, namely the Portuguese Industrial Property Code, grants protection to: i) patents; ii) supplementary protection certificates; iii) utility models;

Know-how is also protected via unfair competition prohibition and it does not need any registration to be effective.

(b) Brands (e.g. trade marks, cause of action in passing off, rights to prevent unfair competition, association marks, certification marks, hallmarks, designations of origin, geographical indications, traditional speciality guarantees);
R: As regards Brands, the Portuguese Industrial Property Code, grants protection to: i) trademarks; ii) logos; iii) designations of origin; iv) geographical indications v) company/commercial names.

As a member-state of the UE, the UE trademarks are also protected in Portugal.
It is also possible to designate Portugal as regards the International Trademark Registration system (Madrid Agreement).

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in confidential information and/or know-how).
R: Portuguese jurisdiction also protects i) topographies of semiconductor products ii) new plant varieties iii) design rights.

Portuguese jurisdiction also protects copyright (authorial right). Database may be protected via copyright. Copyright protection does not need registration, but it is possible (and recommended).

As a member-state of the UE, the UE designs are also protected in Portugal.

India Small Flag India

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in confidential information and/or know-how);

  • Patents: In India, inventions can only be protected by Patents, which are governed by the Indian Patent Act, 1970.
  • Rights in confidential information and trade secrets (know-how): There is no separate legislation for the protection of confidential information and trade secrets in India, and the same is protected and governed under the contract law.
  • Supplementary protection certificates are not available in India

(b) Brands (e.g. trade marks, cause of action in passing off, rights to prevent unfair competition, association marks, certification marks, hallmarks, designations of origin, geographical indications, traditional specialty guarantees);

  • Trade marks
  • Cause of action in passing off
  • Right to prevent unfair competition (under competition laws)
  • Collective marks
  • Certification marks
  • Hallmarks
  • Geographical indications
  • Domain Name

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in confidential information and/or know-how).

  • Copyrights
  • Designs
  • Semiconductors and integrated circuits
  • Plant varieties
  • Database rights

Greece Small Flag Greece

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in confidential information and/or know-how);

Inventions are primarily protected via patents and, where applicable, supplementary protection certificates. Protection of inventions may also be attained via registration of utility models, as well as via (unregistered) rights in confidential information, trade secrets and know-how. Unfair competition law may also serve to protect inventions, in addition to or regardless of, specific rights registration.

(b) Brands (e.g. trade marks, cause of action in passing off, rights to prevent unfair competition, association marks, certification marks, hallmarks, designations of origin, geographical indications, traditional speciality guarantees);

Brands are primarily protected via trade mark registration (national, EU, international) and unfair competition law (unregistered signs and/or designs).

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in confidential information and/or know-how).

Creative works are protected by copyright and/or registered design rights. Databases can be protected either by copyright or by the sui-generis proprietary database right.

There is also specific legislation protecting semiconductor topography rights and plant varieties. However, in the absence of the implementing Decree prescribed by the Greek plant varieties law, no national plant varieties grants are available.

Unfair competition law may also apply to protect the above IP rights.

Japan Small Flag Japan

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in confidential information and/or know-how);
Patents, including utility model rights
Japan has a two-tier patent system:

The Patent Act, which covers exclusive rights to inventions based on technical ideas using natural laws; and The Utility Model Act, which covers exclusive rights to devices based on technical ideas using natural laws in connection with a device’s shape, structure, or a combination thereof.

The scope of the subject matter protected by the Utility Model Act is narrower than that protected by the Patent Act, and the level of technical complexity required by the Utility Model Act is lower than that required by the Patent Act.

Trade secrets and confidential information

Confidential information, which is defined as technical or business information useful for commercial activities, such as manufacturing or marketing methods, that is kept secret and is not publicly known, can be protected under the Unfair Competition Prevention Act as trade secrets.

(b) Brands (e.g. trade marks, cause of action in passing off, rights to prevent unfair competition, association marks, certification marks, hallmarks, designations of origin, geographical indications, traditional speciality guarantees);
Trade marks
Any mark that consists of a character, figure, sign, three-dimensional shape, colour, or any combination thereof, or a sound, that is used in connection with goods or services for commercial purposes can be registered and protected under the Trademark Act.
If unregistered marks are widely-recognised or well-known, they can be protected under the Unfair Competition Prevention Act and/or the Civil Code.

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in confidential information and/or know-how).
Copyright
Under the Copyright Act, copyright arises automatically upon creation of a work in which thoughts or sentiments are expressed in a creative way and which falls in the literary, academic, artistic or musical domain.

Design rights
Under the Design Act, a “design” means the shape, pattern, colour, or combination thereof of an article which has an aesthetic sense. A graphic image that is provided for use in the operation of an article (limited to operations carried out in order to enable the article to perform its functions) and is displayed on the article itself or another article that is used with the article in an integrated manner, can also be protected by the Design Act.

Unregistered designs can be protected under the Unfair Competition Prevention Act and/or the Copyright Act.

China Small Flag China

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in confidential information and/or know-how);
Invention patents, utility model patents, rights in confidential information and know-how as trade secrets.

(b) Brands (e.g. trademarks, cause of action in passing off, rights to prevent unfair competition, association marks, certification marks, hallmarks, designations of origin, geographical indications, traditional speciality guarantees);
Trademarks and certain brand related actions pursuant to the Anti-Unfair Competition Act.

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design patents, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in confidential information and/or know-how).
Copyright, design patents, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties , and rights in confidential information and know-how as trade secrets.

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

Rights identified below as "EU" or "Community" rights have geographical scope covering the EU. The other rights and causes of action are confined in geographical scope to the UK.

Patents
Patents are available for inventions that are new (novel), involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application. Patents grant the inventor a period of exclusivity in return for the inventor disclosing the invention. There is a requirement that the invention be disclosed sufficiently clearly and completely for this to occur.

Some categories of development, for instance discoveries, business methods and computer programs, are not considered to be inventions and are not patentable unless they offer a technical contribution. There are also categories of invention which are excluded from patentability, for example if the invention is contrary to public policy or morality or falls within another exclusion.

In basic terms, there are two systems pursuant to which a patent may be granted covering the UK: the national system and the European Patent Convention (EPC) system. Either system may be preceded by, or may act as the receiving office for, an application under the international system through the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO). Whichever system is employed, the patent that is granted is national in scope; European patents are, at present, filed as a single European application, but granted by the European Patent Office as a bundle of national designations.

As it can take some years after the patent has been filed in order to obtain regulatory approval for a pharmaceutical or plant protection product, supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) are available to extend the term of patent protection by up to five years in qualifying circumstances.

Confidential information
Confidential information is broadly defined as information that has the necessary quality of confidence and is subject to an obligation of confidence. In the UK, the tort of breach of confidence may assist in protecting against its unauthorised use.

Confidential information may include know-how and trade secrets. Its status may be protected by an obligation of confidentiality arising under the common law or because of specific contractual terms (for example in employment contracts and non-disclosure agreements).

Registered trade marks
A mark or sign may be registered as a UK trade mark or a European Union trade mark if it is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of another, and of being represented graphically on the register. It must also not be devoid of distinctive character or exclusively indicate the kind, quality, quantity or other characteristics of the goods or services. A mark which does not immediately appear to have distinctive character can acquire distinctiveness through use.

Registered trade marks can include a variety of forms such as words, domain names, colours and the shape of goods or packaging. There can also be non-traditional trade marks such as scents and sounds, but in practice, registration of non-traditional marks is difficult to obtain.

Passing off
The tort of passing off can protect goodwill attached to goods or services in the UK, where there is a misrepresentation leading or likely to lead the public to believe the goods or services are those of the Claimant or some other authorised link, and where the Claimant suffers damage as a result. The tort can be used as a way of protecting unregistered trade marks, names, logos or get-up from being mis-used.

Registered designs
Designs that are new and have individual character can be registered as UK or "Community" (EU) designs. A design registration may be used to protect the appearance of the whole, or part, of a product, and may be a three-dimensional or two-dimensional design. It is not possible to register features of an article that perform a technical function or that interconnect with another part so as to perform a function, designs that are contrary to public policy or computer programs.

Unregistered designs
UK unregistered design right (UDR) protects any aspect of the shape and configuration of the whole or part of an article (whether external or internal) that is original, recorded in a design document or the subject of an article made to the design, and created by a qualifying person. UDR does not subsist in a method or principle of construction, the shape of an article that "must fit" another, or the appearance of an article that "must match" another. UDR does not protect two-dimensional designs such as ornamentation or surface decoration (which may be protected by copyright).

EU "Community" unregistered design right has a slightly broader scope of protection than UDR and protects both three-dimensional and two-dimensional designs.

Both UDR and Community unregistered design right arise automatically in qualifying circumstances. Infringement depends upon copying of the protected work (assessed qualitatively).

Copyright
Copyright may subsist in original works in any of the protected categories: literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, sound recordings, films, broadcasts and typographical arrangements of published editions, provided the work qualifies by its author’s nationality or domicile or by the place of first publication of the work. Protection arises automatically when works are recorded in writing or some other form. Infringement depends upon copying the whole, or a substantial part, of the protected work (assessed qualitatively).

Database rights
Databases can be protected in two ways: by copyright and by the standalone database right. The standalone database right requires a substantial investment in obtaining, verifying or presenting the contents of a database.

Plant varieties
Plant variety rights are available, by registration, for new, distinct, uniform and stable plant varieties, and entitle the right owner to prevent others from reproducing or conditioning for propagation the relevant plant variety, or offering for sale, selling, exporting, importing or stocking for those purposes. Protection is available for the UK or throughout the EU.

Semiconductor topography rights
Semiconductor topography rights protect topographies in a pattern fixed on, or intended to be fixed on, a layer of a semiconductor product or a material used to make that semiconductor, or an arrangement of patterns fixed on the layers of a semiconductor. The protection arises automatically. Most original, integrated circuits are protected, provided the circuit has at least two layers, and one is made of a semiconducting material, with a pattern fixed to it for the purpose of performing an electronic function.

South Africa Small Flag South Africa

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in confidential information and/or know-how);

Inventions are protected in terms of the Patents Act and the common law principles pertaining to trade secrets. In order for information to qualify for protection as a trade secret, the information must be secret, in the sense that it is not generally known to or readily accessible to third parties, it must have commercial value, and have been subject to reasonable steps to maintain its secrecy.

(b) Brands (e.g. trade marks, cause of action in passing off, rights to prevent unfair competition, association marks, certification marks, hallmarks, designations of origin, geographical indications, traditional speciality guarantees);

Trade Marks, cause of action on the basis of passing off and unlawful competition, certification trade marks, collective trade marks.

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in confidential information and/or know-how).

  • The South African intellectual property framework includes protection for design rights, which rights are extended to integrated circuit topographies. South African law also provides for protection of certain forms of Indigenous Knowledge relating to biological resources in relation to patents, and a framework is currently being developed to extend this protection to other forms of intellectual property rights and other forms of Indigenous Knowledge.

  • Traditional Knowledge/Indigenous knowledge – The South African government has attempted to provide protection for traditional or indigenous knowledge through the introduction of The Intellectual Property Amendment Laws Act 28 of 2013. However, the Act has not yet come into force as the regulations have not been finalised.

    The Protection, Promotion, development and Management of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Bill, 2016 – The South African Department of Science and Technology has advised that the aim of this Bill is to protect, promote, develop and manage indigenous knowledge. It has been tabled before the South African parliament but has not been passed into law as yet.

  • Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR)
  • Copyright

UAE Small Flag UAE

Inventions: Patents and utility certificates (where the invention lacks a sufficient degree of innovative activity). However, utility certificates do not grant exclusive rights. The UAE is a member of the PCT system, and so the UAE can be designated in PCT filings. Patent protection can also be obtained through GCC Patents.

Brands: Trademarks

Other creations: Copyrights, neighbouring rights granted to performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organizations, industrial design rights, plant varieties and plant breeders rights.

Updated: June 27, 2017