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Case studies based on Codes of Ethics, Tort, Liability and Negligence in

Professional Engineering
1. According to the engineering council act, all the engineering college should
be registered to the council so that the products (Engineers) from such
college are eligible to get the membership otherwise not. A college named
XYZ after affiliation with the reputed university has started the bachelor
degree in Computer and Electronic Engineering to provide the skillful
manpower for the nation. When it completed one academic session, the
product (Engineer) came on the market for the competition. Once an
engineer interested to apply for Lok Sewa (Public Service Commission
Government Sector) and Lok Sewa rejected to forward his application
because of his membership of Engineering Council. He went to get
membership to the council; finally he found his college was not registered
in the council. Discuss the role of the different parties in this case study.
2. Er Satyaman Shrestha was working as a Project Engineer in a road
construction project in Chitwan. Er Ramesh Thapa, close friend of
Satyaman was also working as a site engineer in the same project for a
construction company. Construction work was in full swing. Ramesh and
Satyaman were tired every day after the work. Almost every day, Ramesh
proposes Satyaman for drinks and good foods in the restaurant after work.
After few days of work Satyaman noticed that the ratio of cement mortar
used in the stone masonry was 1:6 instead of 1:4 as per design. Similarly,
there was 1:3:6 ratio of mixture instead of 1:2:4 as per design in the PCC
and RCC works. Satyaman complained of this and asked for the reason.
Ramesh told to Satyaman that the strength required for the construction is
still safe in the mortar of 1:6 and concrete of 1:3:6 and also this is only the
means to cover the overheads of entertainments and other financial
benefits, Ramesh did this. As this action does not affect the quality of
work, Ramesh requested Satyaman to stay silent on this matter and
assured Satyaman that he would be responsible for all the consequences
arising if any. How would you judge the role of Satyaman and Ramesh in
ethical ground? Discuss.
3. An election is to be held next month. One of the MPs (Member of
Parliament) of your constituency comes to you and requests you to divert
some of the budget to have a feasibility survey of different road routes in
your district to give positive impression of his initiatives to the people
residing there. Being a technical executive officer of the district, what
would you do?
4. You are working as an engineer from a consulting firm in Pokhara. Your
friend Mr Ram is working as a project engineer from contractor in the same
project. Mr Ram invites you for dinner every Friday to celebrate good
Friday and requests you to share the guesthouse for your
accommodation.What would you do? Prepare a case study based on code
of ethics. Make supplementary assumptions if necessary.
5. Engineer Ramesh Shrestha was working with the contractor in the mega
construction project (say construction of multi-dimensional underground
business complex in Kathmandu). You were given responsibility to control
quality of work in the site. The construction company had maintained
confidentiality of the incentives and salary of employees and the state of
quality of work as a management tools. One day Ramesh happen to come
to the office of executive engineer Sudhir, from site, Er Sudhir was not in
his office. While waiting for Er sudhir, Er Ramesh went through the
computer of executive engineer. He opened tire confidential file of
incentives and salaries of employees in the computer. He found differences
in the levels of salaries and incentives to different employees.In the
meantime, Er Sudhir came to his room and found Ramesh looking

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confidential file on the computer. Sudhir was not happy with Ramesh for
this act. How do you judge the conduct of Ramesh in the ethical ground?
How should Sudhir react with Ramesh for this behavior?
6. A RCC bridge was designed by the designer on behalf of consultant. This
was constructed by the reputed A-Class contractor. After the completion
of the construction, traffic was allowed on the bridge. After six month of
operation there were cracks in the bridge. A probe team was established
by the road department.The design procedure was okay, but it was found
that the quality of steel material used was not duly tested. The contractor
argued that the procedure of construction was in accordance with the
instruction of engineer and specification, however, the workmanship was
found not as per specification. There was also lack of proper supervision by
the consultant. The design load for the bridge was 20 tons. It was also
reported that there happen to pass more than 20 tons vehicles also.The
consultant was good friend of contractor. Being a member of the probe
team, what is your judgment on the failure of this bridge?
7. Both Mr Shyam Lal and Mr Ram Lal consultant engineers slipped on the
florr of the building during their inspection visit, which was under
construction, causing serious injury. During investigation it was revealed
that the floor was not constructed as per design and specification making
it slippery. The flooring work was sub contracted to Mr Hari on Mr Shyam
Lals recommendation.Who is to blame? Give reasons.
8. In a construction project for which you are the consultants supervising
engineer, the contractor requests you for preparing his running bill of
works done, and assuring you to pay a handsome amount for your work, as
his engineer recently quit the job.How should you respond? Explain your
arguments.
9. A production company invited you to attend a one day interaction program
to be organized at Hotel Yak and Yeti, Kathmandu. A program includes
advertisement of the products, free distribution of a hand bag and a dinner
party. Will you attend that program or not? Give reasons.
10. Mr Kamal, an engineering graduate, carried out survey for telephone line
requirement for a newly growth city near Kathmandu Valley. He estimated
500 lines for five years period. But, in two years period, the demand for
telephone lines dramatically increased and application for telephone line
was reached 2500.Discuss this case with reference to reasonable skill and
competency of a professional.
11. You are appointed as a consulting engineer in a project where your best
friend is supplying materials. The communities people knew the fact and
asked you to quit the job because you cannot control the quality of the
material. How do you cope with this situation? Discuss ethical aspects
related to this situation.
12. Er Narendra Sah was working with the contractor in a construction project
(say construction of housing complex in Kathmandu). He was given the
responsibilities to control quality of work in the site. Incidentally, material
supplier (Ramchandra) in the construction is a friend of Narendra.Owing to
the road blockade and other strikes; Ramchandra was facing difficulty in
supplying sand and aggregates as per the given specification. Sand and
aggregates materials were available in the close proximity of the site, but
it is slightly sub-standard. Ramchandra requested Narendra to allow this
material to be used for construction. Ramchandra convinced Narendra that
the strength of concrete shall be produced as per specification even with
the use of sub-standard materials. Ramchandra also offered to share 50%

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of the cost saved during this process. How do you judge the conduct of
Narendra and Ramchandra on an ethical ground?
13. A student got NQ in the ABC subject and was barred to seat in the final
exam conducted by the university. The students claimed to the teacher
that he didnt find the opportunity to make up this NQ giving the
betterment exam. Student threats teacher and teacher felt uncomfortable
to continue the classes keeping such tension on the mind. How would you
judge the role of student and teacher in this case?

Engineering Professional Practice: Sample Case and a solution


Case: A client came to a designers and asked to design a multistoried building.
The soil type is found not suitable for that type of structure. The designer
hesitated to design a building. The revealed his/her intention as that he/she
actually is not going to build that structure but he/she wanted to collect fund from
outside sources on behalf of that design and he/she wanted to utilize that money
in other business.
Problem: What should a designer do in such situation?
Solution:
Engineering is a profession. A professional is that which is acquired thru a
specialized training or education having certain skill those ordinary men does not
possess. Because of professionals knowledge and skill that ordinary people do
possess, and because of they use their knowledge and skill for the benefit of men
and the society as a whole, professionals do have high recognition in the society.
Furthermore, their professional practices are also subjected to public evaluation
and hence, a professionals work cannot be remained as a personal matter. In this
background, we have to deal the situation.
A designer is supposed to design a project visiting the site and he/she should look
for all the things that are readily apparent on the site that is likely to affect the
design. Besides this, a designer is also needed to ascertain the nature and load
bearing capacity of the soil underneath ground level. In this case given, it is
clearly specified that the type of soil is not suitable for that type of building.
Clients intention in this regard does not matter for an engineer as a professional
designer whether a client is going to build that structure or not. A designers main
duty is to prepare a design for the project created by a client that is technically
feasible to erect on the ground. Non-feasible and non-economical design may lead
towards the negligence of a designer or they exhibit the incompetence of the
designer. If negligence and incompetence are not the case and if the designer
perform such task to fulfill the clients intention only then the designer is not
remained as a professional and his/her behavior becomes unethical and immoral.
Professionals committing such unethical/immoral acts are subjected to a
disciplinary action if not institutionally (as in the case of Nepal) but by the public
and their public image will become very low.
It is also to be noted here that a designers duty does not end when he/she has
completed his/her design. A designer is under a continuing duty to check that
his/her design will work in practice and to correct any errors that emerge during
the implementation (construction) of that design. In the case given, as the early

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stage of starting a design work, it has already been known that the soil type is
unsuitable. Thus based on the above discussion as a designer, I will not be
involved in designing that structure.

Engineering Professional Practice


Case studies with solution hints:
1)

A factory was using a chemical in making a product. The storage tank


of the chemical waste, which was hazardous to health and environment,
had a leakage. During inspection Er. A came to know leakage that had
already taken place that might cause adverse impact on health and
hygiene of the surroundings. You informed your boss about the event.
Considering the possible social objection he requests you to be silent on
the issue and also hints you that you may have to be out of the job if the
case would go into the hands of social reformers. If you were Er. A, what
you would do? Discuss.
Solution:-

Tips 1) Engineering, more than any other profession involves social experimentation.
Often one engineers decision affects the safety of countless lives. It is, therefore,
important that engineers constantly remember that their first obligation is to
ensure the publics safety.
Tips 2)

Engineering is a profession. A profession is that which is acquired through a


specialized training or education having certain skill those ordinary men does not
poses. Because of professionals knowledge and skill that ordinary people do not
possess and because of they use their knowledge and skill for the benefit of
people and society as a whole, professionals do have high recognition in the
society. Furthermore, their professional practices are also subjected to public
evaluation and hence a professionals work cannot be remained as a personal
matter.

Tips 3) Professional engineers shall have proper regard in all their work for the safety and
welfare of all persons and for the physical environment affected by their work.
Tips 4)

Fundamental ethical values of code of ethics, which are universal in practice:


Protection of life and safeguarding people; sustainable management and care for
the environment

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Tips 5) Professionals committing unethical/immoral acts are subjected to a disciplinary


action if not institutionally (as in case of Nepal) but by the public and their public
image will become very low.
Tips 6)

With reference to above discussions, I will be ready to quit the job, but I wont
stay silent on that case which is hazardous to public and environment.

2)

You are appointed as a consulting engineer in a project where your best


friend is supplying material. The community people knew the fact and
asked you to quit the job because you cannot control the quality of the
material. How do you cope with this situation? Discuss ethical aspects
related to this situation.
Solution:-

Tips 1)

Professionals are bound by code of ethics. They are not free to act as what they
desire. Personal & professional behaviors are controlled by code of ethics
prepared by professional association/societies.

Tips 2)

Professional engineers shall acts for their clients or employers as faithful agents
or trustees and also act independently & with fairness & justice to all participants.

Tips 3)

With reference to above ethical aspects & background, situations have to be


dealt. I will convince the community that whoever supplies the material, it does
not matter. Quality of material will always be thoroughly checked /verified
/tested /measured in accordance to specifications provided to supplier. Regardless
of these logic, if community does not convince, with due respect to my profession
I will quit the job.

3)

A trial bridge (suspension bridge) over the Bheri river at Shubhaghat


near Mehalkuna bazaar of Surkhet district collapsed on 25th
December,2007. The collapse of the bridge claimed some 18 peoples life
and it is speculated that about 70 persons are missing in the Bheri River.
The mishap happened while a large crowed of people (some eye
witnesses claims 500 to 600 persons) were crossing the bridge to
participate in a local fair on the other side of the bank. The bridge is
located at about 10 Km NorthEast from the Chhinchu bazaar. The span of
the bridge was 187 meters and was completed construction in the fiscal
year 2063/64 (July 2006/June 2007). This was constructed by DDCSurkhet, supervised by DTO- Surkhet and the consultant was FACE
Consultant,
Kathmandu.
The
contractor
was
the
DC
Nirwan
sewa,Nepalgunj. The fabricator of all the elements of the bridge was
Hulas Steel Industries,samara. Nepal government has announced to
conduct detail investigation of the incident. Initially, it was assumed that
the bridge failed due to overload. Prior to the incident, the DTO
technician had allegedly instructed the contractor to tighten up the nuts
of the bulldog grips of the main cables. The Chairperson of the Fair
Management Committee has been quoted to say that the contractor has
not tightened the nuts as was required. Preliminary investigations by
the SBD engineers seem to indicate that the bridge failed due to faulty
bulldog grips. How would you judge the incident on the ground of
professional ethics?

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Solution:On the ground of professional ethics, the culprits of the incident have been
mentioned in prime order as below:
Consultant: Professional engineers shall have proper regard in all their work for the safety
and welfare of all persons and for the physical environment affected by their
work.
On
this
ethical
background,
consultant
should
thoroughly
verified/supervised/checked each and every aspects of the constructional
activities and should instructs concerned contractor to rectify faulty works/design
immediately otherwise works should be stopped instantly. This does not seem to
be happened.
Supervisor DTO: Since professional practices are concerned with public safety, welfare
of all persons and for the physical environment affected by their work and also
subjected to public evaluation. Supervising office seems to be unaware of
problems regarding nuts of bulldog grips on time.
Contractor: Contractor should have followed the instructions and tighten up the nuts of
bulldog grips immediately. But this action seems to be lack.
Owner: Having knowledge of technical/design fault in the construction of bridge, owner
should not have opened the bridge to the public unless the rectifications have
been completed.
Both Mr. Shyam Lal and Ram Lal, consultant engineers, applied on the
floor of the building during their inspection visit, which was under
construction, causing serious injury. During investigation it was revealed
that the floor was not constructed as per design and specification
making it slippery. The flooring work was subcontracted to Mr. Hari on
Mr. Shyam lals recommendation. Who is to blame? Give reasons.

4)

Solution:Mr. Shyam Lal should take responsibility for the incidents with reference to the
following ethical backgrounds
Tips 1)

Professional engineer shall have proper regard in all their work for the
safety and welfare of all persons and for the physical environment affected by
their

Tips 2) Lack of proper inspection and supervision


Tips 3)

5)

Professional engineer shall not be engaged in activities or accept remuneration


for services rendered that may create a conflict of interest with their clients or
employers, without the knowledge and consent of their clients or employers.

Er. Satyaman Shrestha was working as a project engineer in a road


project in Chitwan. Er. Ramesh Thapa, close friend of Satyaman was also
working as site engineer in the same project for a construction company.
Construction was in full swing. Ramesh and Satyaman were tired every
day after the work. Almost every day, Ramesh proposes Stayaman for
drinks and good foods in the restaurant after work. After few days of
work Satyaman noticed that the ratio of cement mortar used in the

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stone masonry was 1:6 instead of 1:4 as per design. Similarly, there was
1:3:6 ratio of mixture instead of 1:2:4 as per design in the PCC and RCC
works. Satyaman complained of this and asked for the reason. Ramesh
told to Satyaman that the strength required for the construction is still
safe in the mortar of 1:6 and concrete of 1:3:6 and also this is only the
means to cover the overheads of entertainments and other financial
benefits, Ramesh did this. As this action does not affect the quality of
work, Ramesh requested Satyaman to stay silent on this matter and
assured Satyaman that he would be responsible for all the consequences
arising if any. How would you judge the role of Satyaman and Ramesh in
ethical ground?
Solution:Role of Satyaman & Ramesh in ethical background:
Role of Ramesh:

Engineer will not attempt to injure falsely or maliciously professional


reputation, prospects or practice of other engineer.
Similarly, engineer should practices their work within their realm of expertise,
they do so in a fair and ethical manner, and they should place the good of
society above their personal gain.
Professional engineer shall not be engaged in activities or accept
remuneration for services rendered that may create a conflict of interest with
their clients or employers, without the knowledge and consent of their clients
or employers.
With reference to above ethical scenario, Ramesh fails to do so and his act
seems to be unethical and immoral.

Role of Satyaman:

6)

If Engineer has proof that engineer has been unethical, illegal or unfair in his
practice, he should be advised to proper his practice of authority.
Similarly, engineer should practices their work within their realm of expertise,
they do so in a fair and ethical manner, and they should place the good of
society above their personal gain.
Professional engineer shall not be engaged in activities or accept
remuneration for services rendered that may create a conflict of interest with
their clients or employers, without the knowledge and consent of their clients
or employers.
Regarding above ethical scenario, Satyaman should advise and request
Ramesh to be ethical and practice his authority properly.

You are working as an engineer from a consulting firm in Pokhara. Your


friend Mr. Ram is working as a project engineer from contractor in the
same project. Mr. Ram invites you for dinner every Friday to celebrate
good Friday and requests you to share the guesthouse for your
accommodation. What would you do? Prepare a case study based on
code of ethics. Make supplementary assumptions if necessary.
Solution:I will reject the offer and invitation on following ethical scenario.

Tips 1)

Professional engineer shall not be engaged in activities or accept remuneration


for services rendered that may create a conflict of interest with their clients or
employers, without the knowledge and consent of their clients or employers.

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Tips 2)

Professional engineers shall acts for their clients or employers as faithful agents
or trustees and also act independently & with fairness & justice to all
participants.

7)

In a construction project for which you are the consultants supervising


engineer, the contractor requests you for preparing his running bill of
works done, and assuring you to pay a handsome amount for your work,
as his engineer recently quit the job. How should you respond? Explain
your arguments. Write five most important rule of conduct for a
professional engineer considering code of ethics prevalent in Nepal.
Solution:-

Tips 1) Professional engineer shall not be engaged in activities or accept remuneration for
services rendered that may create a conflict of interest with their clients or
employers, without the knowledge and consent of their clients or employers.
Tips 2) Professional engineers shall acts for their clients or employers as faithful agents or
trustees and also act independently & with fairness & justice to all participants.
Tips 3)

With reference to above ethical aspects & background, I will not prepare the
running bill for the contractor. If I intended to prepare, it will be against code of
ethics and immoral and may be viable for liability.

Tips 4)

Most important rule of conduct for professional engineer:

8)

Public safety and welfare


Competence and knowledge
Sealing and signing
Faithful agent and trustee
Conflict of interest

A RCC bridge was designed by the designer on behalf of consultant.


This was constructed by the reputed A class contractor. After the
completion of the construction, traffic was allowed on the bridge. After
six months of operation there were cracks in the bridge. A probe team
was established by road department. The design procedure was okay,
but it was found that the quality of steel material used was not duly
tested. The contractor argued that the procedure of construction was in
accordance with the instruction of engineer and specification, however,
the workmanship was found not as per specification. There was also lack
of proper supervision by the consultant. The design load for the bridge
was 20 tons. It was also reported that there happen to pass more than
20 tons vehicles also. The consultant was good friend of contractor.
Being a member of probe team, what is your judgement on the failure of
this bridge?
Solution:Being a member of a probe team, major responsibility for the failure of RCC bridge
must be taken by both consultant and contractor, which will be my verdict on the
following ethical and practical aspects.

Tips 1)

Professional engineers shall have proper regard in all their work for the safety
and welfare of all persons and for the physical environment affected by their
work.
On
this
ethical
background,
consultant
should
thoroughly

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verified/supervised/checked each and every aspects of the constructional


activities and should instructs concerned contractor to rectify faulty works/design
immediately otherwise works should be stopped instantly. This does not seem to
be happened.
Tips 2)

Contractor should have followed the detailed specification instructions


regarding workmanship and other necessary details.

Tips 3)

Professional practices are concerned with public safety, welfare of all persons
and for the physical environment affected by their work and also subjected to
public evaluation.

9)

Engineer Ramesh Shrestha was working with the contractor in the mega
construction project (say construction of multi-dimensional underground
business complex in Kathmandu). You were given responsibility to control
quality of work in the site. The construction company had maintained
confidentiality of the incentives and salary of employees and the state of
quality of work as a management tools. One day, Ramesh happen to come to
the office of executive engineer Sudhir, from site.Er. Sudhir was not in his
office. While waiting for Er. Sudhir, Er. Ramesh went through the computer of
executive engineer. He opened entire confidential file of incentives and
salaries of employees in the computer. He found differences in the level of
salaries and incentives to different employees. In the mean time Er. Sudhir
came to his room and found Ramesh looking confidential file on the
computer. Sudhir was not happy with Ramesh for this act. How do you judge
the conduct of Ramesh in the ethical ground? How should Sudhir react with
Ramesh for this behavior?
Solutions:
I think conduct of Ramesh was unethical and immoral with respect to ethical practices
as summarized below. Sudhir should respond it seriously and he should advise,
instruct and guide Er. Ramesh regarding the ethical practices mentioned below
immediately so that those sorts of incidents never happen again.

10)

Professional engineer shall take care that credit for engineering works is given to
those directly responsible for
Engineer will not attempt to injure falsely or maliciously professional reputation,
prospects or practice of other engineer.
Similarly, engineer should give due regards to all professional aspects of the
engagement
Professional engineer will not review the work of other engineer for the same client
except with the knowledge of such engineer
Engineer shall not disclose confidential information without the consent of their
clients or employers, unless the withholding of information is consider contrary to
the safety of the public

Er.Narendra Shah was working with the contractor in a construction


project (say construction of housing complex in Kathmandu). He was given
the responsibilities to control the quality of work in the site. Incidentally,
material supplier (Ramchandra) in the construction is a friend of Narendra.
Owing to the road blockade and other strikes, Ramchandra was facing
difficulty in supplying sand and aggregates as per the given specification.
Sand and aggregate materials were available in the close proximity of the
site, but it is slightly substandard. Ramchandra requested Narendra to allow

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this material to be used for construction. Ramchandra convinced Narendra


that the strength of concrete shall be produced as per specification even
with the use of substandard materials. Ramchandra also offered to share
50% of the cost saved during this process. How do you judge the conduct of
Narendra and Ramchandra on an ethical ground? (2066)
Solution:I think conduct of Narendra was unethical and immoral as he was convinced with Ram
Chandra regarding technical aspects. If Er. Narendra shares 50% of the cost saved due
to supply of sub standard sand and aggregate materials then, it would also be an
unethical and breaching the code of ethics issued by concerned authority. The conduct
of Er. Narenda can be dealt in the prospects of context summarized below.
Tips 1) Professional engineer shall not be engaged in activities or accept remuneration for
services rendered that may create a conflict of interest with their clients or employers,
without the knowledge and consent of their clients or employers.
Tips 2) Professional engineers shall acts for their clients or employers as faithful agents or
trustees and also act independently & with fairness & justice to all participants.
Tips 3) Professional practices are concerned with public safety, welfare of all persons and for
the physical environment affected by their work and also subjected to public
evaluation.
In case of Ramchandra , his approach and behavior is more unethical and his activities
reflects that he is not concerned over public safety and welfare. On above issue, it is
not clear whether Ramchandra is an engineer or not. If Ramchandra is an engineer,
then his conduct can be dealt with reference to code of conduct & code of ethics and
conclusion will be drawn that his conduct is unprofessional and unethical and he is not
aware of his engineering skill and knowledge.

11)

During quality control visit in a remote village, it has been found that a
building is being constructed on the bank of river, and it will be damaged
due to flood. Approximately 20% of the construction was completed. The
survey was done by your friend with the consent of the local people.
However, the quality of construction was as per specification. Your job is
limited to control the quality of the building only. Discuss the case and
recommend your views on whether to continue the construction or not.
(2067)
Solution:
I will recommend to stop the construction work despite the work is running
according to specs. Though there are several measures to mitigate the flood, the
building which is constructed near bank of river is always vulnerable to damage &
possibility of washed away. So rather taking risk, it is better to stop the
construction work although the 20% work has been completed. Money must not &
wont be a prime & important factor as compare to human life & safety.
Surveyor as my friend should not have designed the building in such a vulnerable
area. He should have convinced the public (despite the consent given by people)
regarding the possibility & scale of damage to be abided by the village people. He
should be aware of his professional code of conduct & liabilities of his duty.
It is also a fact that characteristics & its flow pattern of the flood are well known
by surveyor than village people.
Surveyor conducts shall be deal with following context

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Professional practices are concerned with public safety, welfare of all persons and
for the physical environment affected by their work and also subjected to public
evaluation.
Differences and Similarities
Most people have confusion in copyright and patent. To magnify the difference between these terms,
here are some points.
Copyrights are arts based, while patent are science-based protections.
Copyright cover the works of authorship like literary, musical and dramatic work. On the
other hand, patent protects those inventions that are new and useful.
For applying copyright authorship must be original and real medium. The requirements for
patent are new, useful and non-obvious.
As the authorship work created, protection from copyright begins. While, patent protection is
not applicable, until patent is properly issued.
Copyright is issued to author until his/her life plus 50-70 years, depends upon country law. On
the other side, patent protection time is different in different countries. Normally, patent
provide protection for 10-20 years from the date of application.
A copyright is almost free and paper work is not very complicated. On the contrary, applying
process for patent is much difficult. The reason is that checking process of invention is so
lengthy and costly.
Conclusion
No doubt, both Copyright and patent grant the owners of intellectual property their exclusive control
over production, sale and advertisement. However, it is very important to clear the difference between
these two terms and their condition of application, as a large number of intellectual work remain hidden
from people eyes due to lack of knowledge.

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