After reading this chapter, you should understand the following:
- The principal kinds of intellectual property
- The difference between patents and trade secrets, and why a company might choose to rely on trade secrets rather than obtain a patent
- What copyrights are, how to obtain them, and how they differ from trademarks
- Why some “marks” may not be eligible for trademark protection, and how to obtain trademark protection for those that are
Few businesses of any size could operate without being able to protect their rights to a particular type of intangible personal property: intellectual property. The major forms of intellectual property are patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Unlike tangible personal property (machines, inventory) or real property (land, office buildings), intellectual property is formless. It is the product of the human intellect that is embodied in the goods and services a company offers and by which the company is known.