Intellectual property is one of a business’ most valuable assets intangible, and it is vital to have a plan to safeguard it. Intellectual property protection includes patents, copyrights and trademarks that offer various types of protections and rights. Understanding the nuances of each type is essential to making sure your IP is fully protected.

Intellectual property serves as catalyst to research, innovation as well as the development and diffusion of technology. It encourages both individuals and businesses to invest their time and money in the development of new products and technologies. It also permits the creator to gain economic benefits from the work. This is achieved by establishing an environment that grants exclusive rights to use the work for some time, such as patents, industrial design and trade secrets.

While the term “intellectual property” refers to a variety of intangible assets, the most popular types of IP are copyrights, patents and trademarks. Copyrights protect creative works such as books, songs and films. Patents are valid for a period of 20 years and are protected by inventions. Trademarks safeguard distinctive signs in commerce.

Other forms of IP such as ideas or confidential information are not as formalized. These types of assets are usually protected by nondisclosure agreements and the separation of duties within a company. If, for instance, the R&D department of a firm develops a formula or pattern which provides it with a competitive advantage it is legally protected by law as a trade secret.

secure document sharing in protecting intellectual property