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Intellectual Property Law

Common types of intellectual property rights include patents, copyright, industrial design rights, trademarks, trade dress, and in some jurisdictions trade secrets.

Patents

A patent grants an inventor the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell, and importing an invention for a limited period of time, in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention. An invention is a solution to a specific technological problem, which may be a product or a process.

Copyright

A copyright gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time. Copyright may apply to a wide range of creative, intellectual, or artistic forms, or “works”. Copyright does not cover ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed.

Industrial design rights

An industrial design right protects the visual design of objects that are not purely utilitarian. An industrial design consists of the creation of a shape, configuration or composition of pattern or color, or combination of pattern and color in three-dimensional form containing aesthetic value. An industrial design can be a two- or three-dimensional pattern used to produce a product, industrial commodity or handicraft.

Trademarks

A trademark is a recognizable sign, design or expression which distinguishes products or services of a particular trader from the similar products or services of other traders.

Trade dress

Trade dress is a legal term of art that generally refers to characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging (or even the design of a building) that signify the source of the product to consumers.

Trade secrets

A trade secret is a formula, practice, process, design, instrument, pattern, or compilation of information which is not generally known or reasonably ascertainable, by which a business can obtain an economic advantage over competitors or customers.