Protection of creative work by intellectual property rights

New innovations take a lot of time and money. However, copying and modification are easy, especially in a digital environment. Therefore it is important to protect your expertise in the right and adequate way.

Forms of protection for intellectual capital are known as intellectual property rights (IPR). Intellectual property rights encourage creativity and help protect financial investments. Intellectual property rights are exclusive rights to assets of economic value. The holder of these rights can determine how to exploit them and intervene in case of unauthorised use.


“Copyright is granted automatically to the person creating the work.”


The subject and purpose of exclusive rights vary according to the form of protection involved. Intellectual property rights are divided into copyright and industrial rights. The Copyright Act provides protection for written works and works of art, including computer software and databases. For example, training materials and recordings with audio and visual content are governed by the Copyright Act. Copyright is granted automatically to the person creating the work.

Industrial rights include patents, utility models, designs and trademarks. New and inventive technical solutions can be patented. The patent owner has an exclusive right to the utilisation of the invention. Inventions include devices, products and methods designed to address a problem. An invention is technical by nature and provides a solution to some technical problem. A product design can be protected by means of a design right and a product symbol by means of a trademark. Industrial rights are usually created through registration with the appropriate authority.


Exploitation of intellectual property rights

The right holder can exploit intellectual property rights in various ways. Intellectual property rights can be sold or a license can be granted to the protected object. For example, a software license agreement is a contract of sale on the right to use the software. The software itself is not sold and the copyright to the software is retained by the holder.


“Intellectual property rights can be sold or a license can be granted to the protected object.”


Protecting intellectual property rights in employment relationships

Intellectual property rights in employment relationships with companies and higher education institutes are governed by legislation, agreements signed with employees as well as the terms and conditions imposed by financiers. As a rule, copyright belongs to the party who has created the content to be protected by copyright unless an agreement of the transfer of rights is made. The transfer of copyright to the employer usually requires an agreement.

The employer’s right to inventions in an employment relationship is governed by applicable legislation. Based on this legislation employers are free to determine their in-house processes in more detail and issue specific guidelines regarding inventions.


Welcome to the Intellectual Property Rights Training Day to hear and discuss more about this theme!

Jenni Eromäki, Legal Counsel

The author has a long and versatile experience in tasks focused on business law. She specializes in contract law, IPR law and marketing law.