Intellectual property (IP) is a term used to refer to “creations of the mind" that are protected under law. Intellectual property falls into two broad categories:
Protection of intellectual property typically consists of granting creators exclusive legal rights to exploit and benefit from their creations. These rights are limited in scope and duration. The intent of intellectual property protection is to stimulate creativity for the benefit of society by ensuring that the creators can profit from their ideas.
The types of intellectual property protection commonly recognized are:
Each of these is described in more detail in its tab on this guide.
Misappropriation of intellectual property is the use or commercial exploitation of someone else's work without their permission, often while passing it off as your own work. Such misappropriation is referred to as infringement or plagiarism. Intellectual property law provides specific legal remedies for the owners of intellectual property whose work has been misappropriated. For more information on this, see the tabs in this guide relating to the different types of intellectual property protections, or the following:
For more information about intellectual property, please visit the following websites and other publications.