What is Intellectual Property?

In broad terms, intellectual property is the legal right which results from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. Most countries have laws designed to protect intellectual property, but they are not well enforced in many places. In the United States, laws attempt to safeguard creators and other producers of intellectual goods and services by granting them certain time-limited rights.

Intellectual property in the United States includes patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and other forms of intellectual property. It may be, for example:

  • literary, artistic and scientific works,
  • performances of performing artists, phonograms and broadcasts,
  • inventions in all fields of human endeavor,
  • scientific discoveries,
  • industrial designs,
  • recipes or formulas,
  • trademarks, service marks and commercial names and designations,
  • protection against unfair competition, and all other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields.”

Some things may be protected by copyright laws while other intellectual property may be protected by trademark law or patent laws. Theft or misappropriation of intellectual property is referred to as infringement and/or may be actionable under unfair competition laws.

Industrial Property

Industrial property is a form of intellectual property that covers inventions and industrial designs. These are new designs or inventions that are new solutions to technical problems and aesthetic creations affecting the appearance of industrial products. Industrial property may include such things as trademarks, service marks, commercial names and designations among other things.

Contact a Washington, D.C. Intellectual Property Attorney Today

Understanding your IP is the first step in protecting your intellectual property. You should contact one of our experienced Washington, D.C. intellectual property attorneys if you have questions or need help to protect your IP.