While the term "intellectual property law" as a legal concept is commonly bandied about, what it protects and seeks to promote is often misunderstood. Intellectual property is subjected to sustained criticism and even treated with hostility. The negative views about intellectual property could damage the economy and growth prospects considerably. Based on the proposed changes to laws and draft policies from the Department of Trade and Industry over the past few years, it appears the department may have been influenced by people who express these troubling views. The department should be mindful that those who aim to dilute the rights that intellectual property law provides may be more interested in pursuing their own interests than in improving society. The intangible nature of intellectual property, such as copyright or patents, makes it necessary to provide legal protection. Because society is enriched by innovative products and works of literature, art or music it is considered s...

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