What Does Intellectual Property Mean?

Intellectual property is a term that is used a lot in business law but what does it really mean? How does it apply to your company and what issues do you need to be concerned about? There are a wide variety of examples of intellectual property, which are products that are created by the mind rather than by the hands. Examples include graphic design, writing, music, phrases and a wide variety of other artistic works.

Tangible inventions like software, equipment and other products you can touch or see are easy to view as creations. It’s easy to understand why people need to apply for business law protections like trademarks, copyrights and patents for these types of creations.

When it comes to business law, these types of creations are still protected and should still be protected by trademarks, copyrights and patents. Why is this important? It protects the people and business that create the product so that they have the rights to the profits from the creation of the item. After all, people will have little motivation to invent and create new ideas unless they have some sort of financial benefit.

logo-exampleIs it really possible to steal intellectual property? Absolutely. Think about a company’s logo. It represents the company’s business and image. What would happen if your business attempted to use Microsoft’s logo? That logo is trademarked and you’d be subject to a negative action if you attempted to copy it. What about a smartphone app? If you copied the app or released it with only a few minor changes, the owner of the app could sue you for a copyright violation because you’ve stolen their intellectual property. If you copied a management book, represented a sales model as your own or marketed a training program designed by someone else as your product, you would be violating intellectual property protections.

Your intellectual property is just as vulnerable as anyone else’s. That’s why it’s important to consult with an attorney to make sure it is protected by the appropriate patents, trademarks and copyrights. If someone attempts to steal you or your employees’ intellectual property, you’ll want to be able to deal with the issues effectively.

*”Microsoft is a trademark of the Microsoft group of companies”.