Defining Intellectual Property
Intellectual property encompasses all forms of creativity such as inventions, software, discoveries, creative or artistic works, know-how, processes, and unique materials. For example, intellectual property may be machines, devices, instruments, computer programs, circuits, biological materials, chemicals, books, videos, photographs, paintings, sculptures, or songs.
Intellectual property is protected by law through patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secrets. Multiple forms of protection may be used on the same piece of intellectual property. For example, computer software can be protected by copyright, patent, trade secret, and trademark. Intellectual property is also protected through agreements which control access and use of the intellectual property.