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Identifying Types of Intellectual Property That Are Appropriate For Your Business

Regardless of the marketplace or the size of your company, a well-designed Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy can strengthen your business. When creating an IP Strategy, consider the various types of intellectual property that are a logical "fit" for your company and business objectives. Here are four general types of IP and a discussion of business activities that are related to each type.

  1. Patent Protection. If your business is involved with creating new products or services, patents may be useful in protecting and leveraging those innovations. Regardless of a company's industry, there may be business methods and other processes that are patentable.
  2. Trademarks. Trademarks are appropriate for businesses that have, or are developing, strong brands or identities. Those companies should take steps to identify and protect those IP assets, such as company logos, names and other corporate identifiers.
  3. Copyrights. Copyrights are important to consider for any business that creates original works, such as product manuals, audio recordings, video presentations, software, or related items. Use of a copyright notice is simple and informs others that the created work is protected by copyright.
  4. Trade Secrets. Trade secrets are appropriate for businesses that maintain confidential information, such as customer lists, product formulations, manufacturing processes, or advertising strategies. Companies with valuable trade secrets should take appropriate actions to protect those trade secrets and other confidential information.
Example - Multiple Categories. Many businesses can benefit from identifying, protecting and leveraging multiple types of Intellectual Property. For example, consider a company that creates software applications for a particular market. This company may file patent applications related to its innovative software to protect its core technology. The company also takes steps to protect its product names, company logos, and company name through trademark applications. Copyright notices are included in all software code, user manuals, training videos and related material. The company also takes the necessary steps to preserve its trade secrets and confidential information, such as customer lists and future software development strategies.

A successful Intellectual Property Strategy focuses on the types of IP assets that are most appropriate for the company. Consider your current and future business activities when setting IP goals for your company.

For additional help with your IP Strategy, I would like to invite you to claim your Free Instant Access to my 10 page White Paper "Seven Steps to Accelerate your Business with a Successful IP Strategy" by visiting

From Steve Sponseller - Intellectual Property Strategist

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ArticleBase : Brett Carlson

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