Intellectual property is valuable capital defined as proprietary information owned by a company or individual. Because of its value, it should be protected. Not all intellectual property is protected, however, and some is prone to theft, especially when accessible on the Internet.
Intellectual property is valuable because it takes effort to create. No other business has the same braintrust or the same idea bank as yours, therefore no other business should have the rights to use your valuable ideas without attribution or payment. Luckily, obtaining protection for intellectual property can be fairly simple—and it’s certainly worthwhile in the long run.
Many forms of intellectual property can be protected in the United States under three different umbrellas of coverage: patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Patents apply to inventions and mechanical knowledge about the workings of said inventions, while copyrights apply to artistic or interpretive works like architecture, musical compositions, visual artwork, and more. Trademarks, however, are more applicable to business assets.
Trademarks protect intellectual property that’s critical to a business’s success, like product names, marketing slogans, company logos, and viral-worthy catchphrases. Check out the infographic below from LegalZoom that explores trademarks and why they’re absolutely essential for entrepreneurs and startups.