Anything that can be owned can be viewed as property. It can be a tangible thing, such as a car, a home, or a piece of land; or it may be an intangible, artificial right created by social interaction or legislation, such as a right to receive money under a contract or the right to control the use in commerce of the trademark Gelatissimo. In all cases, whether tangible or intangible, property may be valuable and it may be transferred to others, whole or in part. For example, a home may be sold or leased for a period of time; and a trademark may be sold with a business or licensed to a franchisee.
Intellectual property is an intangible type of property commonly thought of as the product of intellectual activity. Inventions, original works of art, know-how, magazine articles, books, computer programs, photographs, poems, movies, songs, theatrical performances, speeches, experimental results, sound recordings, and music scores are all examples of intellectual property. As such, they all are assets that may be valuable and worthy of protection. Intellectual property law is the body of laws that provide the conditions under which intellectual property may be protected and establish the rights of the owners. Thus, it is important to be able to identify what is intellectual property, on one hand, and how to protect it, on the other. Generally speaking, different areas of the law exist to protect different kinds of intellectual property, with some overlap in some cases.
The laws related to patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade-secret/secrecy-agreements are the vehicles available in our legal system for the protection of Intellectual property. Broadly speaking, these four distinct areas of the law apply to the following kinds of intellectual property:
1. patent law, for inventions and discoveries.
2. trademark and service-mark law, for names, logos, symbols and other items used to identify the source of... [continues]
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