Examples of Intellectual Property (2020 Update)
Intellectual property comprises of all the creative elements of your business. Find out some common examples of intellectual property in this article.
The term ‘intellectual property’ incorporates a vast variety of proprietary interests. These interests are generally derived from anything an individual creates using their mind, such as a new design for a product, a new song or a piece of art. Depending on what is created, there are different rights associated with what an individual creates. It is important to protect these property interests, after all, they will be something that you have put in hard work to develop. Without protection, your intellectual property may be used or also registered by somebody else. This will leave you with effectively no right to benefit from whatever you have created. In this article, we’ll outline the most common examples of intellectual property, so you know how to protect your creative assets.
Examples of Intellectual Property
Depending on what you create, the product or creation will be classified differently under the broad intellectual property umbrella.
A Patent is a registered right granted for new and non-obvious inventions or innovations relating to the function of a product. When making an application, usually specific blueprints regarding the new invention or innovation will be submitted. Examples will include:
- Original bread toaster
- Hair dryer
- Specifics of a current product being modified, such as ‘Water-proof board to board or connectors for an Apple iPhone
- Google’s Emergency Response Drone
- Scientific and medical discoveries or inventions
Patents are also common for new medicines. These patents allow the maker (usually a pharmaceutical company) to have exclusive distribution rights for a number of years.
If you are looking to lodge a patent, you should seek advice from a patent attorney.
Similar to patents, a registered Design will protect the shape, configuration, pattern and also appearance of a product. The appearance must be something new and distinctive. Examples include:
- A specifically shaped chair
- A distinctive looking phone case
- The particular shape and appearance of a product’s packaging
A Trademark is a feature or sign that distinguishes your product or services from competitors. Examples include:
- A word or phrase
- A colour (such as Cadbury’s shade of purple)
- A shape or image, for example McDonald’s Golden Arches or other logos
- A smell
Trademarks offer your intellectual property assets secure legal protection. If a competitor or other entity uses a mark similar to the one you’ve registered, you will be able to take legal action. Further, having a registered trademark will increase the value and legitimacy of your brand. You can register a trademark online here.
Copyright is automatic protection which applies ideas or information that are in ‘material form’. Examples will generally include:
- Sound recordings
- Television and also sound broadcasts
- Publishing editions
- Musical works
- Dramatic works
- Artistic works such as paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings
When building your business, protecting your intellectual property is one of the first things you should do. It is important that you protect any intellectual property that you have created and ensure your business includes clauses in your employment contracts which give your business ownership of any assets created by your employees. If you have further questions about protecting your intellectual property, it be worth getting in touch with a lawyer.
Adam is a Consultant at Lawpath working with the Marketplace Team. With an interest in consumer and commercial law, he is currently completing a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University.