Intellectual property rights
Intellectual property rights (also known as IPRs) give creators and innovators the exclusive right, for a limited time, to control what others may do with their creations and innovations.
This exclusive right is based on the idea that IPRs give people an opportunity to make a return on their investment in creativity or innovation. It also provides an incentive for creative or innovative activity that might not take place otherwise.
The benefits of this additional creativity and innovation are considered to outweigh the costs imposed on society by IPRs.
For example, a patent gives its owner the exclusive right to make, sell or use the patented invention for up to 20 years from the date of filing the patent application. In return, the patent owner is required to disclose the details of the invention to encourage the dissemination of information throughout society. Sharing this information may facilitate other inventors to build on the innovation.
IPRs need to strike a careful balance between the interests of its owners, third parties and consumers, and the interests of society as a whole.