What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property, often known as IP, refers to creations of the mind: inventions (patents), literary and artistic works, symbols, names, images, designs used in commerce. The owner of intellectual property can control and be rewarded for its use, and this encourages further innovation and creativity to the benefit of us all.

Intellectual property is divided into two main categories:

  • Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, web sites, drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs.
  • Industrial property, which includes inventions or patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source.

However, IP is much broader than this extending to trade secrets, plant varieties, performers rights and so on. For an introduction to IP see: