Last week, Apple and Samsung were on the news again. A U.S. appeals court support a verdict where Samsung infringed Apple patents, but reduced part of the 930 million dollar damages awarIntellectual Property. Packaging Legal Protectionds. Some of the patents Samsung violated were the appearance of the product and its packaging; the term itself refers to a way a product is presented.
It is not the purpose of this post analysis the sentence but to advice that protecting your packaging brand is more important than we usually think.
Kind of protection
There are three kinds of legal protection (intellectual property protection): trademarks, copyrights and patents. Sometime, people get confuse between them because they have some similarities, but they serve for different goals. All of them protect the owner of the property and allow them the exclusive use of it for a determined period of time.
Copyright is the protection provided to the authors of an original work. It usually uses for music, literary and artistic works in general. This protection gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work and to distribute copies of the copyrighted work.
Packaging can be protected by copyright (it is an object that have design and it is original). Also, the text and description printed on label on the package could be qualified for protection.
A trademark is a name or a symbol which is used in trade to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the others. They can include logos, sounds, colors, gestures, brand names, and slogan and even the shape of goods and their packaging.
Trademark may be used to prevent others from using similar mark (and mislead consumers), but not to prevent others from making or selling the same goods.
A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor. The right gave by the patent is to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention. In other words, what is granted is not the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention.
In resume, patents protect the functionality of unique inventions. A patent protects the inventor’s right to its exclusive use. Copyright can cover the artistic aspects of product packaging. In contrast to a patent, copyright protects an expression of a work rather than the idea underlying it. Packaging may be not a qualified to be protected by Trademark, but sure it will contain a mark (from its brand) on it.
The competition increase fiercely in every sector and companies know that having a brand that is recognized is decisive to success. Packaging represents and enhances a brand; however, branded packaging is under threat from illegal copying which can detract from the value of the brand. It has been found that many consumers have by mistake brought the wrong product because of its similar packaging.
Intellectual property is a great tool that helps in the war against fake.