Intellectual Property – Something that can not be touched but has been created such as an invention, a literary/musical/artistic work, designs, symbols and names
To remember what intellectual property means use the following mnemonic:
He was an intellect but also unusual because he had no property (intellectual property) whatsoever. There was nothing he had that you could touch.
Intellectual property includes trademarks, patents and copyrights which protect the ideas and designs that a company produces. If someone uses another’s intellectual property, the owner can take them to court to seek damages and order the other party to stop.
One example of a landmark intellectual property dispute settled in court was between Adidas and Payless Shoe Source Inc. Adidas took discount shoe retailer Payless Shoe Source to court for allegedly copying Adidas’ famous (and trademarked) striped design on a pair of shoes. Adidas argues that despite Payless using a two and four-striped design, it still infringed on the Adidas three-stripe design. Adidas won the case and was awarded $304.6 million in a US court.
Another example is the dispute between vacuum cleaner manufacturers Dyson and Hoover. The founder of Dyson James Dyson argued that Hoover had illegally copied his design of a bagless dual cyclone vacuum cleaner in 1999. Then a relatively small company, Dyson were seen as the underdogs against the giant that was Hoover. After a two-year court battle, Dyson emerged victorious, accepting a settlement of £4 million plus £2 million in legal costs.