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What qualifies as intellectual property?

Also known as IP, intellectual property is simply a generic term referring to creations and ideas conceived and owned by a human mind. While intellectual property can be confusing and sometimes difficult to determine, this type of property should be protected. This is so because other people can steal such property and market it or sell it as their own creation. Taking steps to protect property, ideas, concepts and creations means you and only your can own your IP.

There are many types of intellectual property from artistic forms like writing to business secrets like the recipe for Coca-Cola. Nearly all businesses or companies possess intellectual property and should take every step available to protect it. Some common types of intellectual property protections include:

Patents: Getting a patent protects inventions, technology, business practices, methods of manufacturing and many others.

Trademarks: Registering trademarks for brands, company names, product names, graphics and logos protect them from theft.

Copyrights: The author of original works like software, written works or marketing materials can be protected by copyright.

Trade Secrets: This category can include any secret information you wish to protect pertaining to the design, development and marketing of company products.

Even with legal protections, intellectual property created in California is subject to theft and may require legal intervention. Because intellectual property litigation covers often intangible items conceived and created inside a human mind, it can be a tricky area of the law. For prevention before a theft occurs, it is wise to place your property under protection right away. If your intellectual property has already been stolen, you should speak with an attorney about litigation.

Source: National Paralegal College, "What is Intellectual Property?," accessed July 05, 2016

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