Intellectual property law can seem complex to many individuals and business leaders in Texas. After all, the concept of property is oftentimes physical, whereas “intellectual” property is more commonly associated with ideas, brands and logos. For those who run into intellectual property law challenges, it is important to have a basic overview of some of the terms associated with this area of the law.
Overview of intellectual property terms
There are three terms associated with intellectual property that our readers will most commonly hear: trademarks; copyrights; and patents. Although all three terms fall under the umbrella of the intellectual property area of the law, each refers to different ideas.
For starters, trademarks are a part of intellectual property that most people see every day. These are the “brand” marks that identify unique goods or services – a product or company logo, for example. Our readers see trademarks when they drive by the golden arches of McDonald’s, or see the “swoosh” on a pair of Nike shoes. Such trademarks are closely associated with a company and its products, and are easily identifiable.
Copyrights and patents
The concept of a copyright or patent is less visible, but still serves the purposes of protecting an individual or company’s ideas and products. A copyright covers original works, such as music, movies or books, for example, and anything flowing from those works. A patent, on the other hand, protects inventions. By securing a patent, the invention idea is protected for a period of time by exclusivity of use, production and the right to sell the invention.