Intellectual property has become one of the most sought after commodities today. Many ideas are worth a lot of money, which means that there are many people who can use it to their own ends. In addition to that, there are many times when companies and large organizations base their business on certain types of intellectual property. This basically means that in case this information is misused by third parties, there is a risk that the company could be affected in one way or the other. To avoid this, these firms usually invest a lot in intellectual property protection.
In law, there are four main methods of intellectual property protection. The commonest of these is through the use of copyrights. This protects intellectual property which is the product of authorship. This includes literature, music and even software. Companies that produce these items have to apply for copyrights to ensure that they are not used by third parties to undermine the company and for profits.
Patents are also a form of intellectual property protection, and are primarily used to ensure that only the patent holder has the rights to use or modify a certain invention. They are therefore more suited to protect solid objects. In the US, patents are filed through the US Patent and Trademark Office. There are different types of patents available, and the filing process would require you to define which one you qualify for.
Trademarks are symbols, designs or words which distinguish a brand or a company from another, and are another form of intellectual property protection. Usually, illegally using these trademarks or images that are remarkably similar to them results in penalties. The same also applies for trade secrets, which is the fourth form of intellectual property protection.