3 types of intellectual property rights

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If you have a business idea such as a name, invention or symbol, it helps to seek legal protection for your work. In so doing, you will establish rightful ownership while preventing unlawful use or abuse of your property.

There are several ways to protect your intellectual property, and identifying the right type of protection is very important. Here are three types of intellectual property rights that you need to be aware of.


A copyright is a type of intellectual property protection that allows you to protect your authored work. These include your music, literary works and art. You can also use copyright to protect your software and architectural works. Copyright protection is automatic. This means that once you write a book, develop software or produce music, that creation belongs to you.


The U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines a patent as a form of time-limited protection that you can use to protect new discoveries or inventions. These include a new machine, process, composition or article of matter. There are two types of patents (design patent and utility patent).

Trade secrets

A trade secret refers to private and specific information that gives a business its competitive edge in the marketplace. Thus, if another entity acquires your trade secret, your business can suffer specific harm. An example of a trade secret would be Google’s search algorithm or Coca-Cola’s secret recipe.

If someone (like an ex-employee) steals your trade secret, you may petition the court to bar them from using or selling it.

The essence of intellectual property rights is to encourage and protect new creations. Find out how you can use intellectual property rights to safeguard your business’ rights and interests.