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Intellectual Property

An intellectual property right is an exclusive right that offers protection for qualifying ‘products of the human mind’. However, ideas, concepts, processes, methods or formulas cannot per se be protected by this kind of exclusive right. Only the (formal) expression thereof may be protected by an intellectual property right. Depending on the object and the objective of the protection, the available intellectual property rights differ in terms of their nature, scope and duration.

Where none of the protection regimes described here qualify it may be appropriate to protect the relevant object (e.g. a formula, business process, recipe or concept) contractually as a ‘business secret’ (by means of confidentiality agreements or so called ‘non-disclosure agreements’) and even materially (i.e. in a safe-deposit box). An example that appeals to the imagination is the recipe of the soft drink Coca Cola, which has been behind lock and key ever since its creation.