Ownership in the Context of Property Rights

Cite this article as:"Ownership in the Context of Property Rights," in The Business Professor, updated January 8, 2015, last accessed May 25, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/ownership-in-the-context-of-property-rights/.
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Ownership of Property
This video explains ownership or what it means to have ownership rights in property.

Next Article: The Role of Government in Property Rights


What is “Ownership of Property”?

Property is any tangible or intangible physical item, design, creative work, or concept that is owned.

Ownership of property refers to the legal right to exclude others from the specific thing owned. So property is a bundle of rights associated with all physical and non-physical things. Aside from the right to exclude others from using property, ownership rights often include the right to possess, to use, to transfer, and to commercialize the property. Any of these rights, however, are subject to modification by the owner of the property.

Discussion: Do you associate property with physical possession or with the rights in something? Do you think the right to exclude others should be the defining characteristic of property?

Practice Question: Suzie develops a new method for synthesizing radioactive material from common elements. She patents the process and develops a machine to extract the radioactive particles. The Federal Government notifies Suzie that the production of radioactive material is illegal and prohibited. In this situation, what are Suzie’s recognizable rights of ownership? Are those rights tangible or intangible? How are those rights limited?

Proposed Answer

  • Ownership is the ability to claim exclusive rights in a thing. The object of ownership can be tangible such as personal property and land or it can be intangible such as intellectual property rights over musical, literacy or scientific creations of the mind. Ownership also includes rights allowing a person to use and enjoy certain property (physical or intellectual). It includes the right to convey it to others. Patents offer the owner intangible property rights over their creations. Ownership rights in intangible property such as intellectual property rights are limited in the sense that the owner is allowed to excise use, distribution and control over such creation for a limited period of time as stipulated in the regulation. Suzie’s rights in her method is intangible intellectual property. She may possess the ability to exclude other from employing her method; but, she may not have the right to carry out this process herself – due to the illegal nature of the result of the method.  https://definitions.uslegal.com/o/ownership/

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