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What is Intellectual Property “IP”?

You've probably heard the term "IP" before, but what does it mean, and why should it matter to you?

IP refers to creations of the mind, and it encompasses a wide range of intangible assets. The types of protection typically break down as follows:

  1. Copyright Works: literature, music, and art, as well as software, films, and even architectural designs.
  2. Trademark: Distinctive symbols, names, or slogans associated with products or services, such as company logos and brand names.
  3. Patent: Exclusive rights granted to inventors for new and useful processes, machines, or compositions of matter which are granted in exchange for sharing the knowledge.
  4. Trade Secret: Confidential and proprietary business information, like manufacturing processes, customer lists, and marketing strategies which are only protected as long as the secret remains confidential.

Legal IP protections give inventors the ability to control and benefit from their creations which further encourages innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship.  This also benefits consumers as technology moves forward to improve the quality of life.

If you are working in an area that seems like it might be generating protectable IP, you should seek legal advice on the appropriate steps and benefits of obtaining protection.  There are also some pitfalls you may need to steer clear of and early knowledge can help prevent you from becoming your own problem. Call us today at (605) 275-5665 if you have questions about Intellectual Property.