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The types of intellectual property and how they work

On Behalf of | Jul 4, 2024 | Intellectual Property Law |

Each business can have unique strategies when using resources to operate and grow. Some may rely on their employees and financial capacities to expand, but others could depend on intangible assets, such as intellectual properties (IPs). Companies often go to lengths to protect their IPs, especially when these assets give them an edge over others in their industry.

Since these intangible properties can become more challenging to secure, including legal arrangements could be vital to safeguard this information. There are diverse types of IP, which could impact what security measures are necessary according to how they work, including the following:

  • Patents — This type applies to rights over inventions, including designs, improvements, processes, and physical devices or machines.
  • Copyrights — These IPs include any original material made by authors and creatives, which may require licensing agreements for others to use their work.
  • Trademarks — This IP type can apply to any unique branding-related asset owned by a company, including phrases, logos and other symbols. Securing a trademark gives the product or service exclusive use rights to the registered assets linked to its identity.
  • Franchises — These licenses allow others to sell a specific company’s products or services using their branding after paying a certain fee. This IP type is the core of the franchise business model, usually used by large corporations and small businesses.
  • Trade secrets — This IP can be a business process, practice or any confidential information that gives the company leverage over competitors, allowing them to benefit financially. Owners of this IP must take various actions to protect their trade secrets, which can also become subject to protections provided by law.

Other intangible assets can also become IPs, depending on their details and the circumstances.

Protecting IPs appropriately

Aside from using legal options to protect IPs, businesses should also consider what to do if someone else tries to steal or use them without consent. In these situations, legal counsel can help determine how to approach the issue and what legal implications may exist based on the case details.