Intellectual property (IP) is the general term for diverse categories of intangibles that are subject to ownership (legal title) and other rights under state and federal laws in the US, and most other jurisdictions throughout the world. Below is a general overview of the five general categories of IP:
Utility patents protect useful, novel, and non-obvious inventions for processes, machines, manufactured goods, compositions of matter, and improvements thereof. Design patents and plant patents are also available.
Names, brands, symbols, slogans, colors, sounds, package and store designs, and other devices used to identify a particular source of goods and services in a relevant marketplace.
Original works of expression in diverse categories, including literary works, computer software, recordings, and audiovisual works.
Collections of templates (photographic masks) used to create complex electronic circuits on semiconductor chips, and the chips themselves.
Business, financial, and technical information that the owner keeps confidential through reasonable efforts, and from which economic value is derived by virtue of the information not being generally known.