Intellectual Property: The Various Types

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Intellectual property is defined as the ownership of creations of the mind, namely inventions, literary and art works, designs, symbols and even names that are used for commercial purposes. There are four main types of intellectual property (IP) which we will take a look at here.

1. The Patent

This is designed to protect inventive ideas or processes, as well as new strains of plants. If you think you have an idea that could change the world, this might be the right IP protection for you, and the process involves listing the manufacturing process and would be supported with diagrams and drawings.

2. Trademarks

Trademarks protect phrases, words, symbols, sounds, color schemes and even smells. You cannot, for example, copy the logo of a company like Apple or McDonalds, which would be IP-protected in the form of a trademark. Many companies do not actively protect their logo or even color scheme, rather they rely on the goodwill of the business community, and should someone copy their details, they would likely take legal action.

3. Copyright

This type of IP protection is used in the music and movie industry to protect songs and films, and would also include books, other written forms and even computer software. Some software developers claim copyright infringement, especially in the cyber-security industry, where companies are advised to seek expert ISO 27001 consulting from companies like CXO Security to help them in this matter. There have been many cases of a songwriter taking another musician to court, accusing them of using their song, or parts of it, and it can be very difficult to draw the line. The Australian band, Men at Work, were successfully sued for using someone else’s melody in their hit record “Down Under”, which cost them thousands of dollars. Digital data can easily be stolen and if you have valuable computer files, talk to an established IT security provider, who can set up protection.

4. Trade Secrets

This includes formulas, systems, devices that are exclusive properties of a company. There is no registration process for trade secrets; rather, the owner is expected to provide adequate protection, indeed, on many occasions when a company has taken a person to court for stealing trade secrets, it was deemed that the owner did not take adequate precautions to protect themselves. Trade secrets usually give the holder a distinct advantage in the business world, so they should be very careful about who is given access to the data.

If you have very valuable digital data that you wish to protect, contact a company that specializes in IT security, who can take steps to ensure that you are never a victim of cyber-crime.


Image Source: Storyblocks


Intellectual property has been created since the beginning of time, yet it is only in the last 200 years that we have been able to protect our intellectual property by registering with an authority. If you have intellectual property that you would like to protect, talk to a specialist lawyer who can recommend the best course of action, and with their help, your IP will be adequately protected.

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