What Is Intellectual Property?

In this post “What Is Intellectual Property?”, we’d learn all about IP Intellectual property. This includes the importance of intellectual property, types of intellectual property, cases of intellectual property, and some FAQs.

IP is a sort of property that may be lawfully shielded from being duplicated or sold.

What Is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property (IP) pertains to mind works such as books, films, musical compositions, software, and business processes. Because they only live in the imaginations of their authors, they’re considered “intellectual.” They do, however, have a tangible shape after they’ve been created: an original book, a reel, or source code.
New artistic works are protected under intellectual property law. For a certain length of period, a patent, copyright, or trademark grants exclusive rights to a product or idea. A well-established IP addresses the “what ifs” of your firm and prevents rivals from copying your goods.

Intellectual Property Types

A trademark indicates a product or service’s origin. For a limited time, a patent shields an inventor’s creation from being reproduced, manufactured, or sold by others in return for committing to reveal the innovation to the public after the patent expires.

Copyright protects authentic pieces of creativity that are established in a physical medium of expression; it gives the creator the sole permission to replicate or make derivative works, distribute copies of the work to the general public, and perform or exhibit the work to the public.

Another kind of intangible property is a trade secret. It contains recipes for industrial items, manufacturing procedures, and details on business transactions. Know-how is a similarly related notion. Unlike a trade secret, which must be maintained in private to be valued, know-how is not safeguarded until it is documented.

About Intellectual Property Rights

Original artists are legally protected by intellectual property rights. They encourage individuals to invent new products by granting them a monopoly on the economic use of their inventions.

Intellectual property rules apply to a wide variety of concepts and works, such as:

  • Copyright protection (works of literature, theatre, music, and art )
  • Patented inventions (new items or machines )
  • Registered trademarks (business names, logos, and slogans)
  • Business secrets (procedures and methods)
  • Web addresses (like Facebook.com)
Original works such as publications, journals, performances, and software programs are protected by copyright laws.

Treating your intellectual property as an asset might pay off as your company expands. They may be sold, leased out, or allocated to partners to help the firm develop its income sources while maintaining control over the brand and image.

Intellectual property rights are a worldwide phenomenon that exists in almost every country. The laws, although, are not ubiquitous.

However, irrespective of how intellectual property laws vary from country to country, they always accomplish the same objective: to safeguard inventors’ and artists’ work from being hijacked or duplicated without acknowledgment or remuneration. As a consequence, innovators are encouraged to come up with new ideas and innovations.

About Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is a wide term that refers to a company’s or individual’s collection of intangible assets that are lawfully protected from unauthorized use or application. A non-physical asset owned by a firm or individual is known as an intangible asset.

Intellectual property refers to the idea that some products of human intelligence should be protected in the same way that physical property, often known as tangible assets, is protected. Legal safeguards for both types of property exist in most industrialized countries.

Points to Note

  • Intellectual property is a catch-all word for a collection of intangible assets or non-physical assets.
  • An individual or corporation owns and legally protects the intellectual property against unauthorized use or application.
  • Intellectual property may include trademarks, patents, and copyrights, among other things.
  • Intellectual property violation happens when a third party uses an asset without permission.
  • Usually, intellectual property rights terminate after a certain period; nevertheless, others (such as trademarks) exist indefinitely.

Intellectual Property Fundamentals

Considering intellectual property is so valuable in the twenty-first century’s growing knowledge-based economy, businesses are meticulous in recognizing and preserving it. Furthermore, creating valuable intellectual property demands significant expenditures in both brainpower and skilled labor time. This results in significant investments by businesses and people that should not be accessible by others without permission.

Every company’s duty includes extracting revenue from intellectual property and prohibiting others from doing so. Intellectual property comes in a variety of forms. Intellectual property, despite being an intangible asset, maybe significantly more valued than a company’s property resources. Because intellectual property may provide a commercial edge, it is closely guarded and safeguarded by the firms that control it.

Intellectual Property Types

Intellectual property may be made up of a variety of intangibles, some of which are described below.


A patent is a property right issued to an investor by a governmental institution such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent gives the creator legal rights to the innovation, which might be a design, a method, an upgrade, or a hardware device. Patents for designs are common among technology and software businesses. Steve Jobs and three other Apple Inc. employees, for instance, submitted the patent for the home pc in 1980.


Authors and producers of creative content have exclusive permission to use, duplicate, or replicate their work, thanks to copyrights. Musicians and authors of literature both have their works copyrighted. Copyright also specifies that the original authors may offer anybody permission to utilize their work via a license agreement.


A trademark is a recognized symbol, phrase, or emblem that symbolizes a product and legally distinguishes it from others. A trademark is issued to a corporation exclusively, which means the firm owns the trademark and no one else may use or reproduce it. A company’s brand is invariably coupled with a trademark. The Coca-Cola Company, for one, owns the logo and brand name “Coca Cola” (KO).


A franchise is a license that allows a business, person, or party referred to as the franchisee to utilize a corporation’s name, trademark, intellectual information, and methods.

The shop or franchise is usually run by a small company owner or entrepreneur. The franchisee is allowed to sell products or deliver services under the company’s name. The franchisee pays the franchisor a start-up fee and recurring license costs in exchange. United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) and McDonald’s Corporation are two corporations that employ the franchise business model (NYSE: MCD).

Trade Secrets

A trade secret is a firm’s procedure or technique that is not publicly known and provides companies or bearers of the trade secret with an economic benefit or advantage. Trade secrets are often the outcome of a firm’s r&d activities and must be carefully safeguarded by the firm.

A concept, blueprint, composition, technique, or proprietary procedure are all instances of trade secrets. Trade secrets are utilized to develop a business strategy that distinguishes the company’s products from its clients while also giving a competitive edge.

Violation of Intellectual Property

Some rights, defined as Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), are linked to intellectual property and cannot be violated by individuals who do not have permission to use it.

IPRs permit authors to prevent others from copying, imitating, or profiting from their work.

Patent infringement happens when a constitutionally recognized patent is utilized without authorization by another individual or corporation. Patents issued before June 8, 1995, have a 17-year validity period, while patents issued after that date have a 20-year validity period. The patent information is made available after the expiry date.

When an unlicensed party copies all or part of an original piece, such as a piece of art, music, or a book, copyright breaches occur. To be considered an infringement, the replicated material does not have to be an identical copy of the original.

In the same way, trademark infringement happens when an unlicensed party uses a licensed trademark or a mark that looks identical to the licensed trademark. A rival, for instance, can employ a mark that is similar to a competitor’s to interrupt business and attract customers. To leverage other firms’ strong brand impressions, organizations in other sectors may employ identical or similar marks.

Non-disclosure agreements are often used to safeguard trade secrets (NDA). When a party to an agreement violates the agreement by disclosing all or portions of a trade secret to disinterested others, the trade secret is infringed upon. When an NDA is not there, it is feasible to commit trade secret infringement.

Fines or jail terms are punishments for intellectual property violations.

Unique Cases

Because there are no particular accounting procedures for valuing each asset, many types of intellectual property cannot be classified as assets on the balance sheet. Nonetheless, because market players are aware of the intellectual property’s presence, the price of the asset is likely to be expressed in the stock price.

Certain intellectual assets, such as patents, are recognized as property since they have an expiry date. Under the procedure of amortization, these assets are assigned a fixed valuation.

Amortization is a technique of accounting that reduces the valuation of an intellectual asset over time. As the life span of the intangible asset approaches its end, this method assists the corporation in reducing revenue by expensing a certain amount each year for tax reasons.

A patent, for instance, may only have 20 years before becoming public domain. A corporation would give the patent a total value. By splitting the entire value by 20 years, the patent would be recognized as an expense or depreciated by the same sum each year for the next 20 years. For tax reasons, the amortized asset amount reduces the company’s net income or profit each year. Nevertheless, intellectual property with a permanent life, such as a trademark, does not exhaust, it is not amortized.

A Life Example Of IP Violation

In 2017, Waymo filed Uber for allegedly stealing and implementing technology related to Waymo’s self-driving vehicle effort, which was extensively reported. The blueprints for the device, however not yet fully functional, were valuable intellectual property for Waymo.

They were able to use the judicial system to prevent Uber from using the knowledge to further their self-driving vehicle development after they claimed Uber had taken their intellectual property.

About Intellectual Property Rights

Original works, innovations, or the emergence of goods, creative works, scientific advancements, and other forms of intellectual property are protected by intellectual property rights.

Intellectual property rights, or IP rights, are a popular sort of legal IP protection for inventors.

These rights have made a significant contribution to the globe, particularly financially.

Many firms in a variety of sectors depend on the protection of their patents, trademarks, and copyrights, while consumers may be confident in the authenticity of IP-backed goods.

Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of IP and how we should evaluate the various forms of intellectual property protection.

Benefits Of Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property rights are intended to foster new developments, such as tech, artwork, and innovations, that may lead to economic prosperity. Intellectual property rights strengthen people’s interests to keep producing things that generate more jobs and new technology, allowing our society to progress and advance even quicker.

According to the Global Innovation Policy Center of the US Chamber of Commerce:

• Intellectual property helps to create and sustain well-paying jobs.

Over 45 million Americans and hundreds of millions of others globally work in IP-intensive businesses. The typical worker in the IP business makes 46% more than their equivalent in the non-IP industry. Economic expansion and productivity are fueled by intellectual property.

The value of America’s intellectual property business is around US$ 6.6 trillion, which is greater than any other country’s nominal GDP. IP-intensive sectors account for more than a third of the total US GDP (38.2%). IP accounts for about US$ 842 billion in goods exports from the United States.

IP Is Divided Into Four Categories

  • Copyright protection
  • Patents
  • Registered trademarks
  • Business Secrets

Dangers For Companies

When your company is new, it is vulnerable to rivals “borrowing” your ideas.

Implement these instructions below to shield yourself, your company, and your innovations:

Copyrights (Type 1)

What are Copyrights, exactly?

“Copyright is a kind of protection guaranteed by the regulations of the United States (title 17, U.S.Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” according to Copyright Guide Gov’s to Copyrights.

Writing, photographs, music, artwork, and other types of intellectual works are all protected by copyrights. This implies that if you authored anything or made anything at all that you don’t want other people to use without your authorization, you have the authority to copyright it. People who wish to borrow, reuse, or repurpose your work must now approach you first, credit you as the creator, and use it for the reasons you think suitable. This rule has an exception, which is Fair Use. You have permission to use a part of your work for academic, parody, commentary, or news reasons.

Patents (Type 2)

What exactly are patents?

“A patent for an innovation is the issuance of a property right to the inventor,” according to the United States Patent Office.

This patent usually lasts for 20 years from the time the inventor files a patent application with the US government. The list of items that may be patented is long and ambiguous, but it includes anybody who “invents or discovers any new and useful technique, machinery, production, or composition of matter, or any new and useful development thereof, may receive a patent.”

For a company owner or innovator, this implies that if you find a new technique to create something or a new product you’d want to sell, you should first patent the concept so that no one else can claim it as their own. For example, if you have a breakthrough water bottle that you believe would serve the general public, you should safeguard your intellectual property by completing a patent application claiming that the concept is original and your own. If the government believes that your invention is original, valuable, and distinctive, you will be granted a patent to protect your intellectual property. This allows you the freedom to build the concept, market it, or pitch it to investors without fear of someone copying your ideas.

Nevertheless, you should be aware that sharing your copyrighted ideas exposes you to the possibility of others reverse engineering your notion.

Reverse engineering is when rivals disassemble a product or concept to learn how it works to improve or alter it to copy it. Making enough changes to the original concept might lead to a “unique” notion that your rivals can then patent as their own.

Corporations might claim these ‘new’ copies of your invention as their own, avoiding paying you for your patent idea. In the technological world, this commonly occurs between corporations like Samsung and Apple.

Key message: Before exposing your new ideas and solutions to the public, secure them with patents.

Trademarks (Type 3)

What are trademarks, exactly? A trademark is a “word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that defines and differentiates the source of one party’s products from those of others,” according to the USPTO.

For example, see whether your business name, logo, or slogan may be trademarked. Your company’s or items’ trademark acts as brand identification. Trademarks may be applied to images, phrases, and colors. Tiffany Blue, for example, is a trademarked blue that Tiffany & Co. uses in advertising materials, as well as boxes, bags, and other items.

The most frequent intellectual assets to be trademarked are words, phrases, and images, but other distinctive qualities may also be registered for your business. Coca-Cola bottles, for instance, have a copyrighted design, while Dell and Ford have trademarked their surnames and even fragrances. Nonconventional trademarks are utilized in every business to safeguard intellectual property. It is critical to safeguard these corporate assets since trademarks provide company owners with the tools they need to block rivals from exploiting their brand’s goodwill.

An unregistered trademark gives minimal security if you believe you have been the sufferer of copyright or trademark violation.

Key message: It’s recommended to register trademarks via your state and federal government’s trademark registration offices. A registered trademark must be updated frequently to ensure it is “alive” and protect your intellectual property.

Trade Secrets (Type 4)

What is a trade secret, chevalier?

A trade secret is defined as any piece of sensitive company knowledge that offers a corporation a competitive advantage.

Coca-secret Cola’s recipe, for example, maybe deemed a trade secret. Now, if I started a soda firm and made coca-cola-like beverages, it would be a violation of Coke’s trade secret. Trade secrets may also be classified as distribution techniques (Walmart), sales tactics, consumer information, marketing campaigns and plans, vendor lists, client lists, and manufacturing processes, to name a few.

Trade secrets are often disclosed by corporate (industrial) espionage, violation of contract, or even something as easy as leaving your prototype iPhone at a bar.

Before a trade secret is revealed, it must be identified as such. “I have a secret,” one cannot just state. When working with partner firms and personnel, use nondisclosure agreements and identify the material as trade secrets in contracts. There are additional techniques to mark material as a trade secret; for further information, contact


Main point: Keep your trade secrets safe. Only tell workers what they need to know. If you’re terminating an employee, ensure sure they don’t have access to your customer files after you’ve fired them. Check out this Inc. article to discover more about how to safeguard your firm and trade secrets from corporate espionage.

SpencePC initially published Four Types of Intellectual Property for Businesses.

FAQs about Intellectual Property

What Are the Four Different Types of Intellectual Property?

Patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets are the four basic categories of intellectual property.

Intellectual Property: Who Owns It?

A work’s creator is usually considered its owner. Yet, intellectual property ownership may be decided in a variety of ways depending on the kind of property and the circumstances. If work is generated for an employer, for instance, the employer owns the intellectual property. Additionally, ownership rights may be conveyed to others.

What is the Purpose of Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property may be utilized for a variety of purposes, including branding and promotion, as well as securing assets that provide a competitive edge.

Finally, here’s a list of more related topics you might find interesting:
  1. Blockchain Technology
  2. Defi
  3. NFTs
  4. DAOs
  5. Crypto
  6. Web 3.0
  7. Altcoin Tokenomics
  8. Metaverse
  9. Smart Contracts

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