What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property (IP) is property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect, and primarily encompasses copyrights, patents, and trademarks.

It also includes other types of rights, such as trade secrets, publicity rights, moral rights, and rights against unfair competition. Artistic works like music and literature, as well as some discoveries, inventions, words, phrases, symbols, and designs, can all be protected as intellectual property.

It was not until the 19th century that the term “intellectual property” began to be used, and not until the late 20th century that it became commonplace in the majority of the world.

What is a Patent?

A patent is a Governement granted intellectual property right to protect inventions, as a territorial right for a limited period.

A patent makes it illegal for anyone except the owner or someone with the owner’s permission to make, use, import or sell the invention in the country where the patent was granted.

In the UK a patent has a life of 20 years and provides protection throughout the UK so long as renewal fees are paid every year.

For a patent to be granted the invention must be:

  • Novel
  • Inventive
  • Have industrial applicability