Common Types of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

If you have intellectual property, it’s important to work with a lawyer who has the experience and knowledge necessary to protect your property. A law firm can review your case to determine if you may benefit from the legal services that an intellectual property lawyer provides. Though it is not always necessary to hire a lawyer, when one has intellectual property that is vulnerable to theft or damage, it is important to take steps to protect it. 

Intellectual Property: The Four Main Types

Intellectual property usually falls into one of four main types. There are exceptions to this rule, and your intellectual property lawyer may determine that your property falls outside these parameters. However, there are four main types and they are:

1.       Trademark intellectual property. Trademark laws apply to images, logos, and/or words and are intended to protect the creator and prevent their work from being copied in some way and subsequently causing confusion among consumers. Trademark protection can be applied to images and/or words that identify the creator, their services or goods. An intellectual property lawyer from our firm can assist you with the process of getting your property permanently trademarked for as long as you are using it for commercial purposes.

2.       Copyright. If you have intellectual property of a tangible medium that is original and which you created, copyrighting it may be a wise decision. A copyright provides the creator with the exclusive right for a limited period of time to publicly perform, publicly distribute copies of their property, and reproduce it. Examples of work that can be copyrighted include sound recordings, printed words or images, and writing.

3.       Patent. Patents are used to protect a creator’s invention that is unique, useful, and is not an obvious creation. It provides the creator with the exclusive right to manufacture, distribute, and sell their work for a limited period of time. The patent details become public information.

4.       Trade secret. When a company holds secret information or information that the general public does not have easy access to, that information can be protected as a trade secret. If a company’s trade secret is disclosed without their permission, or if the information is stolen, they have the right to sue the offender. To qualify for trade secret status, the secret must be deemed valuable for the fact that it is secret. For example, a restaurant chain may trademark their flagship bar-b-que sauce recipe. A computer chip manufacturer may trademark their unique method of generating the chips.

Protecting Yourself or Your Company

If you have created a unique and valuable intellectual property, to protect its value you must file for the appropriate type of protection whether it’s a trademark, copyright, patent, or trade secret. With the assistance of a trademark lawyer, the proper protection type can be identified and the legal process carried through to completion. Call a law firm today.