Intellectual property 101: What is it and what does it do?

Glenn W. Peterson

When you hear the term intellectual property, you may think of various patents and copyrights used by both small companies and large corporations in California. However, the term intellectual property encompasses a number of ideas that are ultimately protected under certain laws. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, any idea or creation that comes from a person’s mind can be considered intellectual property. This includes trademarks, designs, symbols, inventions, art, literary works and even names and images.

Intellectual property can generally be grouped into one of two divisions, industrial property and copyrights. Industrial property covers trademarks, patents for inventions, scientific discoveries, commercial names and industrial designs. Any type of artistic creation, such as literary works, architectural design, art, vocal work or theatrical work is categorized under copyright.

Whether you complete your first screenplay or develop a trademark for a major company, your idea can be protected under intellectual property laws. Once your invention is trademarked, patented or copyrighted, you are entitled to the benefits that come from your creation. You can feel assured that your idea cannot be copied and used by another person, company or entity. Intellectual property encourages the creation and development of new ideas, and helps to foster social development and continued economic growth.

There is a specific process that must be followed when applying for intellectual property rights. This process is intended to keep the integrity and validity of intellectual property.

This information is intended to be used for educational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.