Last Updated on March 19, 2023 by Admin
Traditionally, intellectual property has not been a big thing in the construction industry. But like many industries, the industry is changing.
With the changes comes an increased need for players in the sector to protect their intellectual property. Doing this can benefit your business in many ways, including protecting your reputation, increasing your value as a player in the industry, and ensuring long-term success.
This guide explores the rising role of intellectual property in the construction industry, so it is a good read if you are an investor or hoping to invest in the construction industry.
Table of Contents
Why Is Intellectual Property Becoming So Important in the Construction Industry Today
Ease in Sharing Information
Technology has made information sharing very easy. This means it is possible to have someone profiting from your hard work as soon as you share it with the first person.
The only way of protecting your work is by registering for protection under intellectual property law. For example, registering for copyright protection would ensure no other person can copy your architectural designs and drawings.
Information technology has provided a level ground for all players in the building and construction industry. This means almost every player can have the same exposure as other players, significantly increasing competition in the industry.
An excellent way to stand out is by being creative, and nothing speaks more about your creativity than your creations. So to ensure that your creations can only be attributed to you, it is vital to seek protection by registering your IP rights.
Enhancing Market Value
Increased supply can drive down prices significantly. But this is only true if all industry players offer similar outcomes.
Being outstanding will mean you will attract increased demand, increasing your value. If your designs reflect your unique qualities, it is a good idea to go out of your way to protect them as your IPs to have exclusive rights to use them as your selling points.
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Copyrights Protections in the Construction Industry
Copyright protections are IP rights granted to creators of works of art, including paintings, drawings, songs, photographs, texts, and literature. In the construction industry, copyright protection applies mainly to architectural designs, drawings, CAD designs, and plans.
Copyrights apply by default to the creator of the work of art and last for the creator’s lifetime and 70 or 50 years after death. However, registering your copyrights is a good idea because it eases enforcing them.
Industrial Design Protections
If you are into home improvement, such as interior décor, you can secure the rights to your design by applying for design patents. In Canada, design patents are referred to as industrial design protections. Industrial design rights offer protection to the visual aspects of an item or product, such as shape, texture, pattern, configuration, and ornamentation.
A design only meets the eligibility criteria if it is non-functional, original, and applied to a valuable item. The process of obtaining industrial design rights can be relatively complicated, so you may want to get the help of a lawyer when applying.
The process starts with applying for registration at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office’s (CIPO) office. If your design passes the eligibility test and you pay the applicable fees, you get a certificate of registration as proof of ownership of your design rights. Industrial design rights run for 15 years from the registration date and are limited to within Canada. If you hope to enjoy protection in other countries, you should consider registering your designs under WIPO.
Trademark rights may also apply to some extent in the construction industry. Trademark rights protect your brand’s identifiers, such as your business name, logos, and other markers that can help your customers pick you out from your competition.
By registering your trademarks, you get an exclusive right to your brand identifiers and the power to stop others from using them for marketing their work. Trademark protections often run for ten years, but they are renewable after paying service fees, meaning you can indefinitely sustain ownership of your trademarks.
Intellectual property provides legal protection for innovative products, processes and brands within the construction industry. It also helps to secure investments and preserve brand values.
Enforcement of intellectual property in the construction industry can be challenging, but it is possible with the proper tools and resources.
Construction contracts, license agreements, confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure agreements are all important for protecting intellectual property in the construction industry.
Intellectual property rights can be protected through registration and enforcement, licensing and franchising, contracts and agreements, and other preventive measures.