Intellectual property is anything that is a creation of the mind: inventions, literary or artistic works, symbols, names, images, drawings, musical compositions etc. It is intangible property, and is the result of creativity which is protected by patents, trademarks, copyrights or other legal protection devices.
Intellectual property is distinguishable from tangible property because tangible property is attached to the legal ownership of a physical item, wheras intellectual property is attacted to the expression of the idea behind that item. The purchase of a CD buys ownership of the CD, but not the underlying content or copyright in the CD’s content.
Intellectual property also includes:
|Copyright • Patent • Trademark • Industrial design right • Utility model • Geographical indication • Trade secret • Authors’ rights •Related rights •|
|Database right • Mask work • Plant breeders’ rights • Supplementary protection certificate • Indigenous intellectual property
Recently, steps have been made to internationalize the copyrighting process. However, Legal systems are almost always split up by boundaries of national sovereignty, so most attempts at international laws are not very successful. At this point, no collaborative effort to harmonize intellectual property law has been sucessful.
Protecting one’s intellectual property is an important process, one that is fairly simple if properly executed. Once you have registered your intellectual property in the form of a copyright, trademark, slogan-mark, patent etc. you have effectively prevented others from stealing your idea or at least have further legal recourse should they ignore a notice to cease and desist.
Listed below are some resources to learn more about intellectual property, or register intellectual property.
United States Intellectual Property
International Intellectual Property
Compiled List of Law Firms