Intellectual property, also called IP, refers to the works that come from an individual’s creative mind. Intellectual property can include artwork, literary pieces, musical compositions, inventions, and other unique works generated by the mind of an individual.
Intellectual property can be protected by law in a variety of ways, thus allowing the creator to financially benefit from their creative endeavors. Some of the most common examples of intellectual property include:
- Copyright – A copyright legally protects the creator’s piece of work and gives the creator sole rights to reproduce, distribute, and display their piece. Generally, copyrights protect literature, music, film, artwork, photographs, paintings, and computer programs for the creator’s lifetime plus 70 years if the piece was created before January 1st, 1978.
- Trademark – Trademarks protect your companies brand names, logos, and slogans. They can also be used to protect other things that customers use to identify your business, look of your product, the look of your retail business location and even a sound. Trademarks are what your customers know and identify your brand by.
- Patent – Patents are exclusive rights granted to an inventor for their invention or unique design. Patents can be utility patents, meaning they pertain to a newly invented product or technology, or they can be design patents for an ornamental design or unique pattern.
- Trade Secrets – Trade secrets are a form of intellectual property that includes confidential information that could be sold or licensed. Generally, trade secrets must be considered commercially valuable, and the knowledge must be limited to only a select group of people. Certain business practices, formulas, and recipes may qualify as trade secrets.
Entrepreneurs, business owners, and creatives often find that a wide variety of IP exists in their businesses that needs protecting. For example, a restaurant may need to file trademarks for their name, logo, and slogan, copyrights for the photos of their food used on social media channels, and legal agreements to help keep their proprietary recipes and industry trade secrets safe.
Because intellectual property is an asset of one’s business, working with an experienced intellectual property attorney is important to ensure that nothing is missed or overlooked. If you have basic questions about your intellectual property rights or you’d like to get started protecting your business or brand, we invite you to schedule an Initial Needs Assessment with our firm. To get started, simply call (888) 666-0062 or click here to use our online scheduling tool.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.