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Intellectual property rights are like any other property right that you can own. Typically, IPRs take the form of monopolies which the government grants to an individual or company for original creative output in the form of inventions, designs, logos, slogans, artistic, musical, and literary works.

They allow creators, or owners, of creative outputs to protect these outputs by way of patents for inventions, trademarks for logos, slogans, and brands, or copyrighted works for literary, musical our artistic creations.  This allows the creators of these works to benefit from their own work or investment in a creation.

Interestingly, these rights are outlined in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides for the right to benefit from the protection of moral and material interests resulting from authorship of scientific, literary or artistic productions. Who knew that IP was a universal human right?


The importance of intellectual property was first captured in the Paris Convention (formally call the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 1883), as well as the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (dating back to 1886).


Both treaties are administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

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