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What is Intellectual Property

1. What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property is an intangible (not touchable) form of property or right. The types of legally recognized intellectual property right include:

•    Trade Secrets – Intra-firm information that has economic value, is not commonly known, and is subject to internal measures to protect the information from disclosure.

•    Copyrights – An original, creative work of authorship that is affixed to a tangible medium (printed, recorded, etc.)

•    Trademarks – A distinctive word, symbol, logo, or other mark that is used in commerce to represent a business, its products, or services.

•    Patents – Discoveries, designs, or inventions constituting patentable subject matter that is novel, non-obvious, and useful.

Generally, intellectual property rights afford the owner or a holder the right to exclude others from selling, importing, or otherwise commercializing the subject property.

•    Note: The owner or holder of intellectual property may have the right to exclude others from infringing upon her rights but not have the right to use or possess a manifestation of its intellectual property.

•    Example: Dan designs a machine that can simultaneously fire hundreds of projectiles (bullets) per second. While he may be able to patent this creation and exclude others from developing and selling his invention, it may be illegal for him to actually possess this type of weapon.

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