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What is Intellectual Property? Simplified

The definition of intellectual property (IP) is basically the ownership of an idea.

  • IP ownership also needs to be supported by government for someone to truly have ownership.

Because of this, there is intellectual property that governments see as more worthy of ownership than others:

  1. Copyrights

  2. Patents

  3. Trademarks

  4. Economic Secrets

Copyrights, patents, trademarks, and economic secrets are basically what constitutes IP. However, because the ownership of an idea is complicated, there can be a lot more types of ideas that might be classified as intellectual property.

Investigator Aptitude Test

IP: Copyright

Copyright is IP that refers to artistic creative work. This can mean creations such as writing, art, and music.

IP: Patent

A patent is the design of an invention and the ownership of the invention.

IP: Trademark AKA Registered Trademark

Trademarks are logos and symbols that businesses use for their organizations and products/ services.

IP: Economic Secrets

Economic secrets, also known as trade secrets, are secrets that have economic value. This can mean how a business operates or the contents of products, among many other business secrets.

intellectual property
Intellectual Property Theft

Theft of IP is protected by governments, with various penalties for infringements. Furthermore, many governments cooperate and protect IP beyond jurisdictional boundaries. However, many governments do not cooperate in protecting IP and allow their citizens and businesses to steal IP from other countries.

IP theft
Public Domain: What is not IP?

If an idea is not protected by IP law, then it most likely falls under the category of public domain. Common facts and common phrases, as well as words are not IP.

IP Time Limit

IP protection generally has a time limit until it is no longer protected. The time limit is usually around 100 years.

About the Author

intellectual property

Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 15 years as a Professional Investigator. Peter has spent more than a decade conducting investigations and security operations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of numerous investigative & security training programs in various capacities.

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