Understanding IP

Intellectual Property (IP) is known as an intangible asset in the accounting world. This is because it can be very valuable depending on what it is, and how much it has been developed, amongst other things. As the term suggests, it is a product of the mind. In a research setting, it would typically refer to the knowledge that is developed in a research project.

 

There are many different types of IP, generally classifed as registrable or non-registrable forms.

 

An invention can simultaneously be protected by a number of different forms of IP, eg. with a pharmaceutical drug can be protected by a patent (on both the formula and the process of manufacture), a trademark (on the market name of the drug), copyright (the design of the packaging that the drug is sold in), and a functional design (on the novel design that the capsule containing the drug can take, if the shape dictates its function which may be ease of ingestion, delivery to the target site, etc.). 

 

The different forms of IP should  be considered quite early in the development of the invention together with UKZN InQubate in order to determine a suitable IP protection strategy.