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Intellectual Property

Resources for researching copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secrets law.

Introduction to IP Law

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creative works or ideas embodied in a way that allows these works or ideas be shared or that enables others to recreate, emulate, or manufacture them. 

Examples of IP include inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, and company symbols, names, and images. 


Categories and Types of Intellectual Property

IP often is divided into two main categories, which consist of four total types of IP:

  1. Copyright covers literary, artistic, and scientific works, such as performances and broadcasts.
  2. Industrial property includes (a) patents, (b) trademarks, and (c) trade secrets

This chart, in McCarthy on Trademarks and Unfair Competition (Temple Law access via Westlaw), provides an overview comparing the different IP protection types. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website also has a chart comparing the different types of IP.


More information is available through these World Intellectual Property Organization resources:

What is Intellectual Property? (website)

What Is Intellectual Property? (booklet)

WIPO Intellectual Property Handbook