About Intellectual Property
Intellectual property (“IP”) is the term used to describe the wide variety of items resulting from the combination of human intellect and creation. The most common business-related IP items are copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Often these proprietary items are the core of a business and are essential in differentiating the business from competition and similar organizations. The protection of this property is therefore critical to the bottom-line and survival of the business. Whether you are growing a newly formed business, creating new content for your existing customers, or discovering a new trade secret, working with an experienced intellectual property law attorney will ensure you are protecting your business’s most vital proprietary assets.
Types of Intellectual Property
Although the term intellectual property continues to expand with the advent of new technologies and industries, IP can generally be divided into four categories.
“Original works of authorship” is the phrase coined by the government to describe the type of property copyrights provide to individuals and businesses. Original works can include the content on a business’s website, as well as informative articles, videos, and content shared with customers. Copyrights also include music, films, and other forms of art. Registering your business’s unique content with the Copyright Office can protect your content from being used by another business or individual without your expressed permission.
The government can grant property rights to the inventor or discoverer of a “new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” If your business has recently created a new product or discovered a new process, working with an attorney to correctly file for a patent will provide your business legal protection from other businesses stealing and capitalizing on your intellectual property.
Businesses strategically choose unique identifiers that differentiate their business or product from others. These unique identifiers can include a business’s logo, slogan, product traits, or even a particular color combination. Trademarking these items can prevent other businesses from capitalizing on the brand and positive sentiment a business has built through its own unique identifiers.