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48 COPYRIGHT LAW Protecting Your Rights Patent Copyright Law Mention the words “patent” and “copyright” to most small business owners and an image of mad inventors usually appears. Yet these are probably the two most important assets an enterprise owns. Reports Chris Youett ll Fortune 10,000 companies employ large numbers of lawyers who specialise in these two aspects of intellectual property rights – and this isn’t done as an act of charity. Established firms worked out years ago that protecting their patents and copyright pays dividends for long–term profitability. Anyone who has yet to be convinced should try aping the Ford badge or try trading as IBM! Although they are part of the same branch of law, there are big differences – something a surprising number of lawyers and universities don’t realise. & A the invention becomes the property of the inventor. engage ISSUE TWO 2006 illustration MATT ROCK Patent law has been around for over 500 years and it is a right granted by the Crown to give an inventor the right for a limited period to stop others from making, using or selling the invention without the permission of the inventor. When a patent is granted,