Biomedical Engineering Reference
The protection and the exploitation of intellectual property are two of the main
strategies to promote the renewal of the economic and entrepreneurial society.
The expression “protection of Intellectual Property Rights” refers to the frame of
rights, relating to:
• personal or moral right to be recognized as the author or creator of the work or
the technical solution or brand, which is a personal and inalienable right;
• economic right related to the exploitation of the result of his/her creative activ-
ity, which is an available and transferable right.
By their very different nature and according to the rules defining them, the out-
comes of human genius can be classified into three main categories:
• the results deriving from intellectual creativity, belonging to the world of art
and culture (literature, organizational charts, theater and television shows, pho-
tographs, paintings, architectural projects, etc.), which are protected by those
rules that are generally called copyright;
• those representing the distinctive marks or signs, such as brand, company, des-
ignations of origin, whose form of protection is registration;
• technical innovation and design, which relate to inventions, industrial designs,
plant varieties, which are referred to the laws governing patent right.
Only about the last two categories, i.e. the intellectual property belonging to the
world of science and technology, we can speak more properly of IPRs.
Today innovation is becoming more and more the crucial element for development
and growth in all sectors of the economy. Thus the creative ability and the actions for
the protection of inventive activity represent key factors for maintaining and increas-
ing the level of competitiveness of an economic system. For this reason, in the last
years we assisted to an “explosion” of patent application, in particular in those coun-
tries whose economy is rapidly growing (China, India, Brazil, …). This phenomenon
paired with a consolidation of IPR in the “traditional” western countries.
Universities and research institutes, but also multinational companies with large
Research and Development (R&D) laboratories/departments, are the main sites
of innovation. Feeding interaction and knowledge transfer between universities,