Intellectual Property

Definition of ‘Intellectual Property’

If a business owns an tangible physical item such as a building, it has ownership rights. In the same way, intellectual property gives a business ownership rights over intangible items such as patents, trademarks, designs, copyright, inventions, names, symbols, artwork etc.

There are four main categories of intellectual property

  1. Patents protect the mechanisms that make things work. For example, it will protect the process of producing a new pharmaceutical drug.
  2. Trade marks protect logos that identify the goods and services produced by a business from others.
  3. Designs protect the look of three dimensional shapes. For example, a dress design.
  4. Copyrights protect material when it is written down or recorded. For example, copyright will protect music, films, books.

Intellectual property is an asset of the business and can be bought or sold like any other asset. It can be used for example, to earn royalties from licensing, create strategic alliances with other businesses, and to secure loans.

For further information see the Wikipedia intellectual property definition.

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