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What Is Intellectual Property and Why Should You Protect It?

Posted on in Copyright Laws

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Over the years, with the digitalization of nearly everything — from music and movies to books, newspapers, and magazines — you have probably heard the term “intellectual property” or “IP” mentioned countless times. As we all know, especially in the earlier stages of this digital age, it was a lot easier to steal products and even ideas in their digital forms. However, as time has passed, companies and their brands have sought to protect their intellectual properties through the legal system, safeguarding it from being copied, stolen, or otherwise plagiarized. Here is a brief overview of intellectual property and why you should protect it as a business owner.

Intellectual Property: Definition

In its simplest terms, intellectual property represents the intangible creations of the human mind. The word “intangible” here seems to challenge businesses since their entire existence, including bottom lines and team interactions — even their products or services, are based on tangible, physical things that exist in reality and derive financial benefit. However, creations of the intellect are just as valuable, if not more valuable, than physical, tangible objects. In fact, in many cases, physical creations are the manifestation of these intellectual properties or, at the least, the IP serves as an inspiration for something more tangible.

Types of Intellectual Properties

There are many IP types, but the four basics are:

  • Copyrights: Used to protect original creations, such as writing, music, movies, art; issued by the Copyright Office
  • Trademarks: Relevant to brand names, product names, and other specific titles, symbols, or designs for businesses and their offerings; issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • Patents: Meant for the ideas that lead to the invention, manufacturing, and distribution of specific products; issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • Trade Secrets: Methods, formulas, or any other non-physical vital information that can be used for economic gain

In addition, franchises might also be considered intellectual properties on their own.

Why Protect IP

There are many reasons to protect IP through the legal process, but some of the more compelling reasons include:

  • Loss of support for research and development to foster more original ideas (if businesses, artists, inventors have their ideas stolen, they stand to lose compensation for those ideas, making future idea development less enticing)
  • Less economic prosperity for those who develop the original ideas, thus making businesses less competitive in the marketplace
  • Consumer confusion caused by too many companies or people selling the same products, creations, brand names, etc.

Contact a DuPage County Intellectual Property Lawyer

If you or your business need to protect certain intellectual property or want to strengthen your brand by protecting more of its intangible assets, consider beginning the process of securing IP rights through a qualified Wheaton, IL business attorney. The skilled legal team at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC can provide you with a variety of different types of business solutions to fit your needs. Call us today at 630-665-2500 to learn more by scheduling a confidential consultation.

Sources:
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/intellectualproperty.asp
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/intellectual-property/
https://www.stopfakes.gov/article?id=Why-is-Intellectual-Property-Important

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