Although IP legislations, terminology and terms around the globe vary considerably, thanks to international treaties and common practices, the procedures and approaches in protecting IP in most of the countries are largely similar. From a practical standpoint and in view of harmonizing IP protection rules of Europe and CIS for our clients, for sake of simplification we tend to classify the intellectual property to four most popular types:
- trademarks (subtypes: word marks, figurative marks, combined marks, 3D marks)
- designs (also known as: industrial designs or industrial models)
- trade secrets
Other IP types include patents (for inventions), utility models, geographical indications, semiconductor topography rights and plant variety rights.
While each of these main types has its own classification, duration, territorial coverage, clearly defined scope of rights, intended use, pros and cons and special features, in many instances they overlap each other when a variety of all available protection forms is concerned.
Therefore, it is no wonder why international IP experts are still debating on whether a 3D design of a product is best to be registered as a 3D trademark or an industrial design or as both. Another example: a brand name, domain name or slogan can only be protected as a word mark (trademark subtype); however, a brand logo may be protected both as a trademark and copyright and yet even as an industrial design and in each case the owner will have certain benefits and drawbacks.