Global Intellectual Property Center

Facts about IP

What Is Intellectual Property

What Is Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) is a set of laws that protect creative and innovative products through legal rights called patents, copyrights, and trademarks. It is sometimes described as property that is a product of the mind or a product of intellectual capital. While the source, goals, and forms of IP are different, they can all be seen as protecting and encouraging creative efforts.

In short, copyright protects creative expression, a patent protects a new invention, and a trademark identifies and distinguishes the source of goods of one party from another. IP encourages new works and new products by protecting the ability of creators and innovators to make a living from those new works and products. IP is the promise that those who combine the spark of imagination with the grit and determination to see their vision become reality in books, technology, medicines, designs, sculpture, services, and more will have opportunities to reap the benefits of their innovation.

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