Intellectual property is a broad categorical description of a group of intangible assets that are legally owned and protected by a particular person or company. Anybody who wishes to use the assets at any point must get the consent of the owner. The concept of intellectual property relates to the fact that some aspects of a person’s intellect need to be afforded the same rights the person’s physical property has. Intellectual property is highly valuable in today’s knowledge-based economy, and this is why companies from all over make sure that they protect their intellectual property. It is important to note that though the intellectual property is intangible, it can have a lot more value than physical property, which is why more people today are trying to understand what goes into protecting intellectual property. Intellectual property gives companies a competitive edge, which is vital in today’s competitive economy. Intellectual property consists of several intangible assets, some of which we will be looking at in this article.
The first intellectual property we will be looking at is a patent. A patent is a property right for an investor. It is granted by Government agencies or bodies that have been authorized by the Government to issue them. A patent covers a lot of property. Some of the things a patent covers are inventions, processes, designs, and even improvements on already existing inventions. You find patents mainly being issued to software companies, seeing as they are the owners of many designs and inventions.
The second form of intellectual property is copyright. Copyright is granted to authors and other creators of original materials. Copyrights mainly have to do with writings and music. A lot of authors have their books copyrighted before they are released to the public. Musicians also have their music copyrighted before they release their songs. Copyright prevents others from using your material in any way without first getting your consent. Copyright states that an original content creator can give anyone permission to use their material through a licensing agreement.
Thirdly, we have trademarks. A trademark is issued to protect a lot of intellectual property. Some of the things a trademark protects are insignias, phrases, and symbols. They are mainly issued if the symbols or phrases serve to differentiate a certain company’s products from its competitors. It is important to note that unlike copyright, a trademark is issued specifically to one company. Other companies cannot use the protected property in any way, because it is associated with the company’s brand most of the time.
A trade secret also protects intellectual property. A trade secret allows companies to keep the results of their research secret. They are mainly issued after processes of research and development. Trade secrets protect things such as formulas for companies in the food and beverage industry, processes for industries, recipes, patterns, and many more. It is important to note that understanding intellectual property is not as easy as many people take it to be. This is why you need to either undergo training or hire a consulting company to help you.