Defining Intellectual Property

December 10, 2015

Whether you’re an established business, a small business owner or an emerging company, at one point you’ve heard the words: “patent”, “trademark”, “copyright” and “trade secret” used interchangeably to reference the broader term intellectual property. Although they all have common underlying similarities, they are very different in how each is used in protecting one’s intellectual property.

Let’s first start with intellectual property (IP) which is defined as property – as an idea, invention, or process that derives from the work of the mind or intellect. IP can be a patent, copyright, trademark or trade secret. The chart on the right is a helpful resource to pinpoint the differences between these four types of intellectual property.

Contributed by Noel E. Day, Ph.D. and Jennifer M. Hetu, Partners at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP

View the on-demand webinar “Protecting Your Business’s Intellectual Property: Patents & Copyrights” with Noel Day and Jennifer Hetu.