Intellectual property define entails any creation stemming from the mind. Such creations could include the following:

  • Artistic works
  • Inventions
  • Literature

The ownership of intellectual property (IP) forms a small monopoly on the safeguarded property. IP is usually made of four areas: copyrights, patents, trade secrets, and trademarks. IP safeguarded via law, and allows individuals to benefit financially and publically from works or creations. By maintaining the right balance between innovator interests and the interest of the public, the IP system seeks to create an environment where innovation and creativity can succeed.

Property Types

You should be aware of three property types that can be owned by an entity or person. The first two kinds entail real property (i.e. materials and land that are fixed or attached to a piece of land) and chattels, which is also called personal property (i.e. goods that are movable).

Rights and ownership linked with ownership are fairly easy to comprehend. In essence, ownership of this type means the right to own it, the right to enjoy its rewards, the right to sell, and a right to stop anyone from engaging in the same activities. Laws dealing in control and ownership over such types usually comprise inquiries that arise based on disputes over shared and individual ownership.

There is little inquiry in regards to what entails ownership on parcels of real property, and there is little question on the consequences of full ownership.

The third property type that could be owned by an entity or person is intellectual property. IP ownership cannot be fully defined as clear as other two types of property since the property itself is considered intangible. This means that it cannot be defined or touched in a physical context. Rather, IP is an ownership interest that an entity or person can have regarding creations stemming from the mind.

IP ownership means that the ownership is an idea or concept instead of physical ownership. In the case of chattel or real property, IP may be sold or conveyed. IP is owned by a person who is behind the idea or concept that is open to IP protections. With that, it may be released or moved via agreement or transaction. While the property is owned, IP ownership allows an owner to exclude others from using concepts or ideas that entail the IP in question. Depending on the IP type, the right could be limited to stopping others from using the IP for commercial gain.

Copyright Law

Copyright is a safeguard given by authorities to an entity or individual for original works created by an author. Overall, copyright law safeguards the original work of authors. Copyright safeguards protect works in the form of:

  • Books
  • Songs
  • Paintings
  • Works of art
  • Film
  • Software

The copyright safeguard for all original works are automatic and arise from the completion of a body of work. The protection afforded can be increased via registration with the Copyright Office. Copyright safeguards also give owners the sole right to replicate the work or change it. Also, they can distribute or display the work in a public fashion.

An example of this would be J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” book series. Rowling holds a copyright on the book and stops anyone from recreating or selling the books for commercial gain. To do so, an individual must get permission from Ms. Rowling if he or she wishes to financially gain from her book series.

Trademark Law

Trademarks entail a unique phrase, word, or graphic that’s used to separate a brand or company from another one. In essence, it can be any symbol or word that symbolizes a product to differentiate it from a product or company within a marketplace. For instance, a trademark word could be “Rollerblades,” while a trademark symbol would be the peacock symbol utilized by NBC. Trademarks are also useful in avoiding consumer confusion. Trademark protections takes place upon use of the trademark in a business sense. With that, trademarks may be registered in the same manner as copyrights.

Trademarks can be obtained in three primary ways:

  • By submitting a “use” application after a mark has been in use
  • By creating an “intent to use” application if a mark has not been in use
  • In certain cases where a foreign application can exist

If you have more questions on intellectual property define, submit your legal inquiry to our UpCounsel marketplace. UpCounsel’s attorneys will give greater details on the definition of an IP and how you can secure your IP rights. Moreover, they will defend your rights in court if you encounter an IP violation of any kind