Friday, September 8, 2017

Intellectual Property & The Value of Information

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), "Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and imaged used in commerce."  However, not all intellectual property is the same.  In the United States, IP can sometimes fall into the categories of copyright, patents, or trademarks, and these categories may come with legal protections that allow the creator of the IP to earn recognition or financial benefits from the things they create or invent.


In the United States, copyright is the legal term that explains the rights creators have over their literary and artistic works.  Things that fall under copyright protections include books, paintings, maps, computer programs and music.


In the United States, patents are exclusive rights given to a person or persons for an invention.  Whoever owns the patent gets to decide if and how other people can use the invention.  In turn, the patent owner has to publish a document that makes all the technical details about the invention available to the public.


In the United States, trademarks are signs that make it easy for people to distinguish goods or services that come from one company from goods or services coming from a different company.

Other Countries

In countries throughout the world, intellectual property rights and protections differ.  The International Property Rights Index for 2016 shows the United States is ranked 15th in the world for the security of IP rights.  Finland, New Zealand, and Luxembourg has the most secure property rights by this same ranking scale, while countries like Bangaladesh, Myanmar, and Venezuela fall at the bottom of the rankings.  Each country has its own unique legislation that governs how intellectual property, patents, and copyright works.  If you plan to create something, it's a good idea to check out the government protections available to you.

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