1. Money

Understanding Intellectual Property

By

Intellectual property refers to products that come from the creative mind. Intellectual property is imagination made real. Intellectual property is an asset just like your home, your car, or your bank account. Intellectual property protection comes in the forms of: patents, copyrights, trademarks, or trade secrets.
  1. Different Types of Intellectual Property
  2. Getting a Patent
  3. How to Register and Use Trademarks Correctly
  1. How to Register and Use Copyrights Correctly
  2. Searches & Indices - Finding Already Existing Trademarks or Patents
  3. Trade Secrets

Different Types of Intellectual Property

Different Types of IP

A basic introduction to intellectual property: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. How to tell them apart. How to decide which type you need.

Getting a Patent

Inventor Receiving Patent

Utility, design, or plant patents protect inventions and improvements to existing inventions. Inventions must be "things that have purpose" and not ideas or names. For example, I would patent my invention of an improved car tire that never goes flat.

How to Register and Use Trademarks Correctly

Man with many ideas for a trademark

Trademarks protect words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services. A great trademark can help with the sales of goods and services and very desirable goods or services can make a trademark famous.

How to Register and Use Copyrights Correctly

Copyright Protection

A copyright protects the form of expression of a creator against copying. Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works are included within the protection of U.S. copyright law.

Searches & Indices - Finding Already Existing Trademarks or Patents

Searching by Patent Number

Step to step guides to searching for patents online using the inventor's name, keywords, or patent numbers. Step to step guides to searching for trademarks online; one purpose of a trademark search is to determine if someone has already trademarked your intended mark.

Trade Secrets

Trade Secret

Trade secrets are information that companies keep secret to give them an advantage over their competitors. Trade secrets unprotected by a patent, copyright, or trademark as no public disclosure has been made.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.