Intellectual property rights (IPR)
Intellectual property rights are important instruments of business and international trade. Intellectual property (intellectual property rights, IPR) includes patents, copyrights, industrial designs, and trademarks, for instance.
The national strategy concerning intellectual property rights (Government resolution of 26 March 2009) identifies four trends in the field of IPR:
- Digitalisation and convergence
- Politicisation of intellectual property rights
- Expansion in scope.
Globalisation is visible in the everyday activities of Finnish companies, in
the sense that knowledge of international practices has become a success factor
for them. Finland has joined systems of agreement on international trade and
intellectual property rights and, as a member of the EU, is under an obligation
to comply with Community regulations. Finnish legislation's room for manoeuvre
has narrowed accordingly. However, engagement in international systems has also
opened doors to international trade.
and convergence are most clearly visible in IT, which has made audiovisual
production and distribution systems available to everyone. Now a private
citizen can have a calculator, typewriter, postal, banking and shopping services,
a library (the Internet), games, radio, television, a camera, and a positioning
device, all combined in his or her computer. Alongside such technological
development, technical copying and distribution of copyright-protected material
on the information network has become practically free of charge.
Politicisation is visible in the form of previously far removed issues, such as health care, now having a strong intellectual property rights dimension. Where IPR used to be distinctively about negotiations and agreements between companies, the scope of intellectual property rights has now expanded. Consumers are now increasingly faced with, for instance, copyrights and counterfeit products. Communication content produced by users themselves has also occupied a central role. Expansion in this respect is illustrated by the fact that approximately 4.2 million patent applications are pending globally. Substantial growth is being witnessed, particularly in the Far East.
According to the strategy, the operating environment for intellectual property rights should be improved in the following areas in particular:
- Efficiency of rights
- Competition law and the functionality of the markets
- Efficiency of administration.
Key reforms are related to competence and education. Business management expertise, such as managerial expertise and knowledge of international contracting practices, should be included in education on intellectual property rights. Furthermore, financial analysis concerning intellectual property rights should be developed.