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posted 7 months ago

By Kelly Bagla, Esq.

Intellectual property is a broad categorical description of the set of intangible assets owned and legally protected by companies or individuals from outside use without consent. An intangible asset is a non-physical asset that a company or person owns. The concept of intellectual property relates to the fact that certain products of human intellect should be afforded the same protective rights that apply to physical property.

Types Of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property can consist of many types of intangibles, and some of the most common are listed below:

A patent is a property right for an inventor that’s typically granted by a government agency, such as the Unite States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent allows the inventor exclusive rights to the invention, which could be a design, process, an improvement, or physical invention such as a machine. Technology and software companies often have patents for their designs. The patent for the personal computer was filed in 1980 by Steve Jobs and three other colleagues at Apple Inc. Patent rights are granted for 20 years.

Copyrights provide authors and creators of original material the exclusive right to use, copy, or duplicate their material. Authors of books have their works copyrighted as do musical artists. A copyright also states that the original creators can grant anyone authorization through a licensing agreement to use the work. Copyright rights are granted for 70 years after the author dies.

A trademark is a symbol, phrase, or insignia that is recognizable and represents a product that legally separates it from other products. A trademark is exclusively assigned to a company, meaning the company owns the trademark so that no others may use or copy it.

A trademark is often associated with a company’s brand. The logo and brand name of Coca-Cola is owned by Coca-Cola Company. Trademark rights are granted for as long as the trademarked material remains active.

Trade Secrets
A trade secret is a company’s process or practice that is not public information, which provides an economic benefit or advantage to the company. Trade secrets must be actively protected by the company and are typically the result of a company’s research and development. Trade secrets could be design, pattern, recipe, formula, or proprietary process. Trade secrets are used to create a business model that differentiates the company’s offerings to its customers by providing a competitive advantage.

A franchise is a license that a company, individual, or party called the franchisee purchases allowing them to use a company’s, the franchisor’s name, trademark, proprietary knowledge, and processes. The franchisee is typically a small business owner or entrepreneur who operates the store or franchise. The license allows the franchise to sell a product or provide a service under the company’s name. In return, the franchisor is paid a licensing fee by the franchisee. Companies that use the franchise business model include McDonald’s Corporation, Subway Corporation, and United Parcel Services (UPS).

Digital Assets
Digital assets are also increasingly recognized as IP. Digital assets like phone apps, your social media site, computer programs, and your business website can be protected in the same way as other assets.

Your intellectual property can be a great value to your company and could drastically increase the brand if you ever decide to sell your company.

Becoming a business owner, you control your own destiny, choose the people you work with, reap big rewards, challenge yourself, give back to the community, and you get to follow your passion. Knowing what you’re getting into is smart business because the responsibility of protecting your family and yourself falls on you.

For more information on how to legally start and grow your business please visit my website at www.BaglaLaw.com

Disclaimer: This information is made available by Bagla Law Firm, APC for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, and not to provide specific legal advice. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.



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