Guide to Intellectual Property

Intellectual property refers to “intangible assets” such as inventions and creations that are commercial or artistic in nature and that are the product of the ingenuity or imagination of an individual.  Intellectual property rights are rights given exclusively to the intellectual property owner.  Intellectual property is seen as a personal asset and is generally fully alienable (i.e. can be bought or sold like any other piece of personal property).  As such, individuals have an ownership stake in their intellectual property just like the ownership interest they would have in a piece of jewelry or a business.  The rights of intellectual property owners are protected from thieves and any others who seek to deprive the intellectual property owner from their rights to their property.  Owners of intellectual property rights are generally the inventors or creators of some artistic or commercial product that is largely categorized as an intangible asset.

What Does Intellectual Property Law Cover?

Intellectual property law covers things that are the product of the ingenuity or imagination of an individual.  Intellectual property can be a creation that is artistic in nature, or a production methodology or a pharmaceutical formula.  Generally, intellectual property law covers products that may hold “legal monopolies.” These products such as generally subject to the protection provided by:

  • Patents;
  • Trademarks;
  • Trade Secrets. 

Intellectual property laws essentially incentivize individuals and businesses to create and invent new products with the promise that they will be able to monetize and capitalize of their creation without the concern that another entity will come along and steal their profits.  Society has a vested interest in inventors continuing to come up with new ways to improve life.  Thus, society allows the legal system to provide benefits to those who are able to create a product that is novel and that can benefit society in some way.  If the intellectual property of inventors was not protected, inventors and businesses would have very little incentive to expend all of the capital costs and time commitments that go into engineering a new invention or improving upon existing technology.

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