The specific types of intellectual property rights available in the United States are: Trademarks, Copyright, and Patent. I have provided additional information in the Intellectual Property Guide on Legal to English.
To get started, let’s establish a definition of Intellectual Property:
Intellectual Property is the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. No one owns an idea, what you own is the rights to the expression of your idea. Intellectual property is not like real property. With real property, you can either lease, sell, or subdivide the property. It is difficult, if not impossible, to do all of those at the same time. Intellectual property, however allows you to grant one, some or all of the rights you have in the property.
The rights in copyright are:
- To use
- To reproduce
- To sell
- To distribute
- To create derivative works
- To manufacture
- To license
- To perform
The rights of a trademark owner are:
- Use the mark to identify goods and services
- License the mark to others to use
- Register the mark with the state or federal trademark office
- Restrict others from using the mark
- Transfer the rights to use the mark
You can give away one of your rights or all of them depending on what you would like to accomplish.
Available Intellectual Property Topics are linked below:
- Fair Use
- Creative Commons
- Basics of Copyright Protection
- Basics of Trademark Protection
I hope this helps you better understand how to protect this valuable asset in your business.
A Note on Patents
I will not create an content on patents at this time. A patent is an intellectual property right granted by the United States Government. The right was created in Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution. A patent gives the right to an inventor to exclude others from profiting from their invention throughout the United States for a limited time, if the inventor will publicly disclose the invention when the patent is granted.
Patents are very specialized and not to be taken lightly. I suggest you seek the advice of a competent patent attorney (of which I am not one) if your business idea centers around a new invention. I can answer any questions you may have generally, but I am not able to provide any patent services.