Intellectual property is the general term used to describe those creations of the mind such as inventions, trademarks, symbols, images, copyrights, and literary and artistic works that are used in business. However, the grouping of the disparate areas of law that govern intellectual property can be misleading because it implies they share similar legal philosophies, are based on a common legal principle, and function similarly, but they do not.
There are two categories of intellectual property: industrial property and copyright. Industrial property includes inventions, trademarks, trade secrets, and industrial designs. Copyright encompasses literary and artistic works, drawings, paintings, motion pictures, photographs, books, poetry, artistic performances, and recordings. Both types may be implicated in commercial activities.
Intellectual property rights are not about objects so much as about the knowledge embedded in objects. Many times, businesses have knowledge that should be protected under various intellectual property laws, but they fail to realize the need exists or do not know how to obtain such protection in the first place.