Intellectual Property

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names, and images used in commerce. There are four types of Intellectual Property.

A patent is a grant of property rights to the inventor. It is “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling,” said invention. Hence, it is not the right to make the invention, but rather the right to exclude others from doing so.

A trademark is a word, symbol, name or device that is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish it from the goods of others. Trademarks are used to prevent others from using a similar mark, but not to prevent others from making and selling the same goods under a different mark.

Copyright is protection provided to authors of “original works of authorship”. This includes literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other works. It gives the owner exclusive right to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies, or perform or display the work publicly.

A trade secret is any confidential business information which provides an enterprise a competitive edge. Because trade secrets don’t require registrations, to be considered a trade secret it must be kept a secret, have commercial value, and be subject to reasonable steps to keep the secrecy.

Some Intellectual Property can be protected in multiple ways. You can have a trademark to protect the name of a computer software program, while a patent and copyright can protect the different aspect of the actual software and a trade secret on the algorithms used within the program itself.

Other Internet sources for information on intellectual property: