Intellectual property, sometimes shortened to IP, consists of creations of the mind. Examples of items that can be considered intellectual property include artistic works, phrases, designs, words, music, books or literary works, symbols, inventions and discoveries. With some restrictions, if the item in question is, be it a tagline, logo or written document was produced by you, and can be proven to have been produced by you before any other versions, that item belongs to you as your intellectual property. Under the law relating to intellectual property, owners are entitled to certain exclusive rights, such as patents, copyrights, trade secrets, industrial design rights, service marks and trademarks.
Legal issues surrounding intellectual property law have taken centuries to evolve. In fact, it was not until the 19th century that the term, intellectual property was coined. It took until the late 20th century for this term to be used commonly.
The right to an piece of intellectual property exists as soon as that property is created. It is a good idea to protect your intellectual property rights through legal means, since this makes it easier to prove you were the original creator of the work.
There are three commonly used ways to protect intellectual property in the United States. The first is by using a patent. A patent usually applies to a specific product design. The second is use of trademark and/or copyright protection. The trademark normally refers to a symbol, phrase or a name, and copyright protection generally applies to a written document.