Read Weil's comprehensive set of answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Intellectual Property, to properly inform your business about patents, trade secrets, copyrights, and trademarks.
This memorandum contains a brief introduction to the four types of intellectual property recognized by many countries throughout the world: patents, trade secrets (confidential information), copyrights and trademarks. Each form of intellectual property:
- protects different kinds of subject matter than the other forms, although some types of subject matter may be protected by more than one form of intellectual property (for example, computer software);
- provides its owner with different legal protections than the other forms, that is, protects the subject matter against different kinds of activities by others; and
- has different requirements than the other forms.
It is important to recognize that intellectual property rights are rights recognized by the government of a country. They are legal rights that government has decided to grant within its territory to creators or owners of certain subject matter. Rights granted by Country A do not apply beyond its borders, and rights in Country B may be different, even as applied to the same subject matter.