What is intellectual property?
Published 01.11.08 at 09:00
From the music we listen to and the books we read, to the computer software and products we use in our daily lives, most of the world's creative output and content (including possibly yours) can be classified as intellectual property (IP).
But IP rights don't protect ideas or concepts; it is how these ideas are brought to life that means they can be protected by IP legislation.
Products, technical solutions and new inventions are protected by patents and design rights; literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works are protected by copyright; and brand names, words, sounds, and even smells, are protected by trade marks.
In a nutshell, all of your mental and creative 'outputs' can be transformed into tangible 'commodities' so that you can licence, sell, trade, divide or retain your rights to those commodities. Creative individuals and businesses should, therefore, be protecting everything, particularly designs, brands, logos, packaging and software creations.
Download our article 'Doing the Rights Thing' for a step-by-step guide on protecting, exploiting and managing your IP.
Photo credit: Martin Kingsley
Please note that this article discusses the legal position in the UK at the time of publication. It provides general information only but is not to be regarded as legal advice. You must take advice from a specialist lawyer in relation to your specific circumstances. Further, you should seek additional legal advice when dealing with parties based in other parts of the world or works originating from other parts of the world as the legal position may vary.