What is Intellectual Property?
“Intellectual property refers to products of the human intellect that have commercial value and that receive legal protection. Typically, intellectual property encompasses creative works, products, processes, imagery, inventions, and services and is protected by patent, copyright, trademark, or trade secret law.”(1)
A trademark is used to identify a particular business’s goods or services. They include any device, brand, label, name, signature, word, letter, numerical, shape of goods, packaging, color or combination of colors, smell, sound, movement or any combination which is capable of distinguishing goods and services of one business from others.
A copyright is a protection given to authors of creative works. Such as writings, music, and works of art. The time duration of a copyright depends on various factors. But, is generally between 50 and 120 years. The advantages to holding a copyright is that only the person who holds the copyright may reproduce the work, and they have the sole right to publish.
A trade secret is confidential information that gives a business a competitive edge. There are times to seek trade secret protection, verses seeking a patent, these times are:
When a secret is not patentable.
When the information can be kept confidential for over 20 years.
When the trade secret is not of enough worth to patent.
1. Nolo Patent, Copyright & Trademark, 10 edition, Attorney Richard Stim,