Other intellectual property rights

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Intellectual property is an umbrella term covering the rights to "intangibles". Various types of industrial property rights apply to intellectual property. The following regulations apply in Switzerland, but similar ones are found in most industrial countries.

The most important intellectual property rights for ETH besides patents are presented below.

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Trademarks are used to distinguish a company’s goods or services from those of other companies. They may consist of words, pictorial representations or a combination of these elements, possibly together with colours. Three-dimensional or acoustic trademarks (jingles) are also possible.

A registration is valid for ten years and may be renewed as often as desired by a further ten years (some trademarks are more than 100 years old).

Trademark law gives the holder the exclusive right to use the trademark to identify the goods or services for which it is claimed, or to dispose of it (e.g. to use it to label goods or packaging, on business correspondence or in advertising).

A design is the specific external shape of a product.

In order to claim protection, the design must be new, show a certain originality and must not be subject to technical constraints. A design can be protected for a maximum of 25 years. A registered design may not be copied or simulated.

Copyright regulates the rights of authors to their work of literature and art, and to computer programs. The protection period extends up to 70 years after the death of the author, for computer programs up to fifty years after death.

Copyrights usually apply automatically and it is not necessary to register them in most countries (the USA is the most important exception). No special marking is required. However, marking the work with "copyright", "all rights reserved" or © is a useful indication for third parties and may act as a warning against copying.

Copyright gives the author the exclusive right to determine if, when and how his work may be used.

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