If you perform research which could lead to a patentable or exploitable invention or discovery, you need to know about Intellectual Property Rights in the Czech Republic.
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual Property (IP) is a term given to ideas or other creative or innovative subject matter. An individual can own the rights to a certain piece of IP and thus control its use, or in some cases benefit from its application.
The right to protection of intellectual property applies to all original creations that result from human thought. Your right to protect your own creationsapplies from the moment you (the author) create them, and may also be protected by a number of formal procedures - for example if you obtain a patent. To be considered your intellectual property the creation must be unique, non-repeatable and sufficiently distinct from other creations (i.e. original).
The Czech Republic is a signatory on most international treaties concerning the protection of intellectual property and is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO/OMPI). These international treaties take precedence over Czech national law in this area.
Intellectual property rights include:
- author's rights (e.g. for research publications, computer programmes, literary works, etc.);
- industrial property rights (e.g. for inventions, patents, trademarks).
These are governed by Act no. 121/2000 Coll. and decree no. 408/2008 Coll. Author's rights are controlled by the Ministry of Culture and you can find contacts for the department of the ministry working on author's rights here.
According to sec. 2 para. 1 of the act (see above) author's rights protect literary and other artistic works and scientific or academic works, which are the unique result of the author's creative activity and expressed in any objectively conceivable format, including electronic formats, whether permanently or temporarily, regardless of their length/size, purpose or meaning. Objectively conceiveable formats are those that people other than the author him/herself are able to observe; the work cannot only exist in the author's mind. The author's rights apply from the moment the work is created in an objectively conceiveable format.
Industrial property rights
The Industrial Property Office is the central national authority in the Czech Republic for the protection of industrial property rights and serves primarily as the patent and trademarks office. It decides on the legal protection of inventions, designs, industrial models, and trademarks, and keeps registers of items protected under industrial property law. It is also responsible for deciding over disputes in this area.
Industrial property rights cover numerous forms of intellectual property, including industrial models, improvement proposals, trademarks, designations of origin and geographical product labels, brand names, construction diagrams, etc. To be protected as industrial property, the creation must have an industrial (business) use and must be formally registered in the relevant authority's register.