Types of Intellectual Property
When we look at physical property, we can all recognize the variety of ‘properties’. Real Estate is substantially different from the stuff found in the kitchen ‘junk drawer’. Intellectual Property has a similar variety of types, differentiated by what is protected, how it is protected and how it ‘becomes’ property.
Ideas We all own our ideas. As long as those ideas are kept in my head, no one but myself can do anything with them. Of course it is hard to do anything if we keep those ideas locked up.
Patents are legal registrations that protect useful objects. Patents apply to such things as the can opener in the junk drawer, the electronics in your DVD player.
Trademarks for some businesses, trademarks may be the most valuable ‘property’ they posses. A trademark is a unique name, symbol or combination of the two that identifies a company and its products. McDonalds may refer to the neighbor’s house – but most of us recognize McDonalds as the name of a restaurant because, combined with the ‘golden arches’ it has been registered as a trademark.
Trade Secret Does anyone know the formulae for Coca-Cola? I assume the people making Coca-Cola do, not many people outside the company do though. That formula is protected as a ‘trade secret’. There are legal consequences if an employee of Coca-Cola were to disclose that secret.
Copyright is probably the largest area of intellectual property. Copyright protects the expression of creative ideas. Prose, Poetry, Lyrics, Music, Dance, Paintings, and Sculptures – essentially anything that can be described as creative is protected by copyright. Not many people hold a patent, own a trademark or harbor a trade secret – but a very large number of people own the copyright on something!
Can anyone think of another example of Intellectual Property?
What about information?