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Up to date on: 11.1.2008

Basic definitions and acronyms

copyright: protection (for a set period of time) of expressions of ideas, and creative and artistic works, including but not limited to: art, computer programs, some types of database.

design: the appearance of a product or a part of it

enforcement of intellectual property: ensuring that the rights of owners of intellectual property are upheld

ip4inno: intellectual property for innovation

intellectual property: property created through intellectual effort and protected by patents, trade marks, trade secrets, copyright, etc.

innovation: new or improved ideas, products, services, processes

industrial property: a subcategory of intellectual property which includes trade marks, patents and designs

IP: see "intellectual property"

patent: a set of exclusive rights granted for a set period of time in exchange for disclosure of an invention. There are many limitations on what can be patented, depending on where patent protection is sought.

patent information: technical and legal information in patent documents or literature

patent office: a governmental or intergovernmental institution which administers intellectual property rights

small and medium-sized enterprises: a small enterprise, as defined by the European Commission, has fewer than 50 employees, a medium-sized one fewer than 250. Other criteria can also be used to define the status of an enterprise, e.g. turnover and balance sheet total. Various definitions apply in different regions and countries of the world

SMEs: see "small and medium-sized enterprises"

"soft" intellectual property: forms of IP which include but are not limited to know-how, trade secrets, confidentiality agreements 

trade mark: a distinctive sign used to distinguish products and services

unregistered intellectual property: forms of IP which include but are not limited to copyright, software, unregistered designs

utility model: a form of patent available in some countries, usually for minor inventions that do not meet some of the patentability criteria