What Is Considered "Intellectual Property"?

Eureka! We all recognize this simple, albeit strange looking word, as the telltale sign that someone has come up with a brand new idea. Maybe they thought up an improvement, an innovation, or a brand new invention. Whatever it is, it must be important and is probably worth repeating—or stealing.

Intellectual property laws exist to keep others from using your ideas without your consent. They can do so through a variety of means and legal shields. With trademark laws (™), individuals can stop others from duplicating, imitating, or reusing their ideas and actual products. For more tangible items, copyrights (©) can be instated to prevent their recreation or illegitimate use. Patents, a government licensed title that expires after a set period of time, gives a sole entity the right to exclude other parties from making, using, or even selling an invention.

What can be protected by intellectual property laws?

For the most part, unique pieces of art—finished or not—are considered intellectual property. While it is true that art is somewhat of a generalized term, it can be broken down into three common forms that require protection from duplication:

  • Music: Orchestrations, songs, jingles, compositions, etc.
  • Writings: Books, novels, articles, pamphlets, etc.
  • Artwork: Paintings, digital art, sculptures, etc.

For inventors seeking to protect their creations, intellectual property laws can get a little trickier. In most cases, they will be pursuing a patent for their invention. This means they need to file with a federal patent office and get approval for what they have done.

Before patents are granted, the invention or improvement must be:

  • Unique
  • Brand new
  • Useful

Just on the surface, intellectual property and the trademarks, copyrights, and patents that surround them can become very convoluted and extremely complicated. Sometimes declaring that what you have created is uniquely yours can be an uphill battle, with others trying to say that your invention or artwork is actually rightfully theirs instead.

If you would like help dealing with this oftentimes-difficult portion of the law, contact the skilled intellectual property attorneys from Sacks Weston LLC. With more than nearly 100 years of collective experience in Philadelphia business law, you know you can trust our team with your sensitive legal matters.