The term intellectual property may seem confusing at first, but in truth, it is pretty straightforward. You already know what property is; something that you own, and therefore have the right to control. You can use it in any way that you want, enjoy it, dispose of it or sell it. You can improve it or let it sit and gather dust, but it is yours, and if somebody takes it without your permission, it represents theft. Intellectual property is just the same, with all the same rights. The difference is that it is property that is intangible because it is the product of somebody’s mind (thus the use of the term intellect).
There is an entire area of law that is dedicated to the protection of intellectual property. This is because as soon as an idea or creation is transmitted or shared, it can easily be stolen or copied. Intellectual property law protects the rights and ownership of the individuals or entities that create that type of product, whether it is a story or play, a piece of art or music, or an invention or trademark. Without protection, people would not be able to benefit from the products that they dream up.
There are three different types of protection for intellectual property. These are:
Each serves a different purpose. Where copyrights provide their owners with the exclusive right to the use, display, performance or reproduction of their product (and the exclusive economic right to financially benefit from it), patents provide their owners with the ability to prevent others from selling, making or using their invention for a specific period of time. The third type of protection is a trademark, which protects a product or company’s name or identifying mark, and which distinguishes one product from another so that consumers can easily distinguish between them and recognize a specific product.
The theft of intellectual property is a significant financial crime, as well as morally wrong. Ideas and innovations arise from expertise, knowledge, and creativity. They represent hard work and talent, and the protection of both is the goal of intellectual property laws. If you want to make sure that your intellectual property is protected, or believe that somebody has stolen your intellectual property, we can help. Contact our experienced intellectual property law firm today to set up a time for us to meet and discuss your situation.