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Intellectual Property



Backgrounds of Intellectual Property

The origin of intellectual property is related to the birth of the printing press, around 1450. At that [moment] (time) [started] the production and sale of literary works (started), resulting in a printing privilege system for printers and a right of censorship for the most powerful classes: the church and kings that wanted to control the market.

This printing privilege was first amended in England by the Statute of Queen Anne in 1709, turning it into a right for authors, providing them the rights of sale and printing of their work for a period of fourteen years, renewable for the same period. In Spain the authors were granted the exclusive privilege to print their books with hereditary nature by Royal Order of 1762, 1763 and 1764. But it was not until the French Revolution of 1789 when the copyright as we know it nowadays was born in Europe. In 1813 the Cortes de Cádiz (Spain) granted authors the exclusive right to publish and reproduce their writing during their life, giving their heirs the right to reproduce it for a limited time

Currently, intellectual property protection is not standardised worldwide and its defence is justified from two perspectives, which have been adopted by different countries. 

On the one hand, the United States, Great Britain and the Common Law countries follow the copyright system, which protects the creations in order to stimulate the production of new works on behalf of society’s general interest.

On the other hand, countries in continental Europe and Latin America have adopted the intellectual property system, where intellectual property is recognized as a natural right to the person who seeks to benefit the effort of the creator.

Spain has adopted this latter view of intellectual property, the protection of copyright being covered through the enactment of subsequent laws. The first law that may be considered as a regulatory law on copyright dates back from 1847, later replaced by the Act of 1879 and of 1987. After several current reforms the revised Intellectual Property Law (Royal Legislative Decree 1 / 1996 of 12 April)(PDF) was approved, partially modified by the addition of successive European Union directives on the subject 


Intellectual Property Definition


For the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), intellectual property has two different branches: industrial property (patents, industrial designs, trademarks ...) and copyright (artistic creations such as books, music, paintings, sculptures, films and works carried out by technological means such as software and databases.)


Industrial property refers to inventions, the ideas being an object of protection as solutions to technical problems. By contrast, in copyright law, which applies to literary and artistic works, what is protected is the expression of ideas.

The industrial property protects the inventors against any unauthorised use of their invention. While copyright protects rights holders against any third party to copy or use the way it has been stated the original work (WIPO).

Intellectual property, according to the Ministry of Culture, is the set of rights belonging to authors and other holders (artists, producers, broadcasters ...) for own creative work and performance.

The existing Article 2 of the revised Intellectual Property Law (TRLPI) states that "The intellectual property consists of personal and property rights, which give to the author full control and the exclusive right to exploit his work, without other limitations than those established in the Law”.


University library - Intellectual Property

Universidad de Alicante
Carretera de San Vicente del Raspeig s/n
03690 San Vicente del Raspeig
Alicante (Spain)

Tel: (+34) 96 590 3400 Exts. 1225 y 1226

Fax: (+34) 96 590 3464

For further information:, and for enquiries on this web server:

Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig s/n - 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig - Alicante - Tel. 96 590 3400 - Fax 96 590 3464