Myths about intellectual property rights

Every year more and more people associate and understand the meaning of the term intellectual property and have also heard of terms such as copyright or trademark. Although public awareness is greater than ever, there are still some persistent myths about intellectual property. Here are some of them:

Myth #1: Copyright: "I quote, so I respect": it is often believed that if you quote something while referring to the author of the original work and the source of the borrowing, you will escape accusations of plagiarism. While this is true, it is not correct in all respects. Copyright law allows the use of a quotation only if it is for the purpose of explanation, critical analysis, or instruction, or if it is justified by the rights of the creative genre, as in the case of parodies, cabaret activities, or political cartoons.

Myth #2: Designs: "I change, so I do not infringe" The appearance of a product can be protected by registration of a design if it is new and has individual character. In assessing whether a design has individual character, it is the overall impression of the product (design) that matters, not its details. Minor differences in the appearance of a product are therefore not a sufficient basis for determining its individual character if the product gives the same impression as another product.

Myth #3: Trademarks: The ™ symbol does not mean that a trademark has been registered. From a business perspective, it is used to show that the person making and selling the product or good considers it separate from others. There is just one catch: ™ does not necessarily mean that the product or good is actually a unique, registered product.

Myth #4: "My domain is mine". Nothing could be further from the truth. By registering a particular name, one merely becomes a subscriber to a domain. This gives one the right to use the domain for the entire duration of the subscription.

These and similar myths can prove dangerous and lead to negative legal consequences, including litigation and claims for damages from IPR. Therefore, one should always be cautious and legally verify certain widely held beliefs so that the belief in these beliefs does not cause us major problems.