Types of Intellectual Property
There are four basic types of intellectual property, usually categorized on the basis of the laws
governing their use and protection:
· Copyrights: A copyright protects the tangible expression of an idea, not the idea itself (e.g.,
a book, a research article, or a videotape).
· Patents: A patent protects the idea and gives the creator the right to exclude others from using
the idea (e.g., a patent may be awarded to anyone who invents a new machine or a new way of
manufacturing something, etc.). In order to receive the patent, the creator must disclose in detail
how to make his invention work and its use.
· Trademarks: A trademark identifies and distinguishes an idea, written words, pictures, or
products from those of competitors (e.g.,the Coca Cola script name is a registered trademark
that immediately identifies the product).
· Trade Secrets: A trade secret refers to information that is not publicly known, that produces
economic benefit to the owner, and that the owner maintains as secret. (WD-40, Twinkie recipe, and Coco-cola recipe are all trade secrets)