You might hear the term intellectual property thrown around quite often, but feel unsure exactly what it means. You are not alone in your uncertainty.
As a business owner, it is imperative that you identify your IP and protect it to the best of your ability.
What is IP?
IP encompasses intangible creations of the intellect, such as:
- Literary works
- Artistic works
How can you protect your IP?
You can protect your IP by filing for protection through trademarks, patents, trade secrets and copyrights.
Trademarks protect words, sounds, colors, symbols or logos utilized by an organization to differentiate its goods or services from others. Examples of trademarks include the Nike swoosh symbol and McDonald’s golden arches.
Patents protect original inventions varying from devices to processes. Owners of software products file for patents to prevent other companies from selling the same or very similar products.
Trade secret law grants protection to intellectual property not available to the public that has economic value. Examples include recipes, formulas and processes that grant a business a competitive benefit. KFC’s fried chicken recipe is an example of a trade secret.
Copyright law protects original creators with their original works of IP. Copyrights differ from patents in that they are tangible. Examples include poems, songs, books and speeches.
Is IP protected anywhere?
Each country has its own IP law. As an entrepreneur, you should consider filing for IP protection in any country in which you plan to do business.
IP is an important business asset and warrants attention and consideration.