What is Intellectual Property?
What is Intellectual Property? An answer to this question might seem uncomplicated. Simply put, it is an idea, procedure, method, process, or product, which in some way relates to the product, production, or services of another person or group. It includes all titles, materials, names, processes, slogans, and designs that relate to your ideas, so if you can think of something, you probably have a little bit of intellectual property.
Intellectual property is a vital part of our system. Without it, our society would quickly lose all of its technological advances and most of our innovations would be forgotten, as individuals would have no incentive to come up with them. Intellectual property rights also protect our identities and our brands-secretted names, slogans, designs, or patterns. Thus, what is intellectual property is extremely important to business and therefore, quite contentious.
In today’s global marketplace, all products and information are considered intellectual properties, even if they do not contain any material content. In the same way that a building can be copyrighted for a long period of time, a copyright can keep others from selling, copying, or distributing your content for a lengthier period of time. Copyrights and patents can be enforced against an individual, a company, or an entity. There are also trade secrets, which are not protected by any law.
One person’s intellectual property is another person’s property; therefore, one person cannot just claim that another person’s property is their property. However, the owner of a trademark or copyright has exclusive rights to that property, while the owner of a patent has exclusive rights to the product or technology underlying that property. Therefore, owning these rights gives the owner of intellectual property “exclusive rights.” However, an entity can own a license, or right to use a patented product, or rights to use a trademark, without having exclusive rights.
There are two main laws that help individuals and businesses obtain legal rights in their works-the copyright and patent laws. Copyright protects original literary and artistic works from being copied and patented ensures that the original work cannot be reproduced or altered. Both these laws are enforced by the United States Copyright Office and the Patent Office. Each copyright law has different protection dates, which can range from a year to 50 years. Some of the protection dates that apply to the United States include previous writings (copyrightable material), newly published items, and existing songs, movies, or written works in the public domain.
So, what is intellectual property then? Intellectual property law is the body of law that governs the ownership and use of ideas, inventions, works, and commercial activities. The laws that govern intellectual property are based upon a number of factors including the nature of the item, the value of the item, its commercial value, and how similar or original it is to something else. All of these things are considered when creating a copyright or patent.
Some items are protected by a copyright while others are not. A copyright is an exclusive right to the use of an item, while a patent ensures that one does not copy the item without permission. For example, books, music, movies, paintings, and computer programs are all copyrighted. While books and music can be copied and published, the owner of the copyright maintains total control over all copies.
Another area of what is intellectual property is the practice of business. In order for an individual or business to have legal rights to a piece of software, they must create something of value and put it into the public domain. A domain is when the item is allowed to exist without restrictions on its use. If a person or business is looking to profit from an idea, or invention, they may have to seek protection from the owner of that idea, so that they can monetize their creation.