What is intellectual property, exactly? These are the symbols, processes, designs and works that your company own, which often make up the backbone and recognizable face of your business.
These property points either generate revenue, act as identifiers, or both. They can be things created in-house, or things that you hired someone outside to create for you. It is also crucial to protect these things.
IPs under copyright protection
The U.S. Patents and Trademark Office takes a look at protections available for intellectual property, colloquially called IP. There are different types of protections available based on what sort of asset you want to protect.
Copyright, for example, exists to protect any works with tangible forms. This includes motion pictures, novels, photographs, software code and musical composition. Digital formats of items are also considered to be eligible for copyright under the current copyright laws.
Once copyrights expire, the content passes on to the public domain. It is impossible to get a copyright that lasts forever, by design. Under current law, however, this typically does not happen until decades after the death of the original creator and holder of the copyright, making it something that not many people have to worry about.
IPs under trademark protection
Next, there are trademarks. These are for intangible things that set aside your goods and services from any of your competitors. This can include slogans and logos. These do not have an expiration date, unlike copyrights.
The holder of IP protections has the right to give or refuse the use of their IP to anyone, and options to pursue those who violate their protections under law.