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IP and Patents

Intellectual property (IP) is a term used to refer to “creations of the mind" that are protected under law. Intellectual property falls into two broad categories:

  • industrial property, such as inventions; words, phrases, or symbols used in commerce; or industrial designs, and
  • literary and artistic works such as novels, poems, plays, films, musical works, drawings, paintings, photographs,sculptures, or architectural designs.

Protection of intellectual property typically consists of granting creators exclusive legal rights to exploit and benefit from their creations. These rights are limited in scope and duration. The intent of intellectual property protection is to stimulate creativity for the benefit of society by ensuring that the creators can profit from their ideas.
The types of intellectual property protection commonly recognized are:

  • Patents to protect inventions and industrial designs
  • Trademarks to protect words, phrases, or symbols used in commerce
  • Trade Secrets to protect confidential business information
  • Copyright to protect literary and artistic works