Intellectual property law encompasses the legal rights, which result from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. States establish laws to protect intellectual property for two main reasons. The first is to give statutory expression to the moral and economic rights of creators in their creations and the rights of the public in access to those creations. The second is to promote, as a deliberate act of government policy, creativity and the dissemination and application of its results and to encourage fair-trading, which would contribute to economic and social development.


Generally speaking, intellectual property law aims at safeguarding creators and other producers of intellectual goods and services by granting them certain time-limited rights to control the use made of those productions. Those rights do not apply to the physical object in which the creation may be embodied but instead to the intellectual creation as such. The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), concluded in Stockholm on July 14, 1967 (Article 2(viii)) provides that:


Intellectual property shall include rights relating to:
-Literary, artistic and scientific works,
-Performances of performing artists, phonograms and broadcasts,
-Inventions in all fields of human endeavor,
-Scientific discoveries,
-Industrial designs,
-Trademarks, service marks and commercial names and designations,
-Protection against unfair competition, and all other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields.


Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also states, 'everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.' Intellectual property law manifests itself as an offshoot of trade law and human rights law, among other fields. It signifies an individual’s right to retain possession of their intellectual activity, an inherently human privilege.