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Many new ideas can be protected using Intellectual Property Rights (also known as "IP rights" or "IPRs").  The main purpose of IP rights is to enable the inventors, designers and creators of original ideas to stop others from copying their ideas without permission.  There are many different types of IP rights, some of which may overlap, and may exist in parallel with one another.

The simple example below of a toaster illustrates how various different IP rights can be used to protect products and the ideas underlying them:

There are many other types of  IP right as well, such as database right, rights subsisting in plant varieties, the law of confidential information (e.g. trade secrets, know-how, etc.). The table below summarises the key features of a number of IP rights.

The following table provides a general overview of various different types of IP rights, what they can be used to protect, how long they last, what the main requirements are and approximate costs.  Further and more detailed information is provided elsewhere on this site.

Primer - what is IP.pdf Fact sheet - IP rights summary.pdf

General information about intellectual property rights and the various forms of protection that might be available

ip rights summary