Intellectual Property (IP) exists all around us, encompassing elements like your brand, creative works, innovations, and products. One thing you must pay attention to is that you must know that it’s important to recognize that you can’t protect mere ideas or concepts; legal protection applies to their physical representation. To secure legal safeguards, you must translate your idea into a tangible form, such as a product, image, logo, or poem. Understanding the distinctions among the five main types of intellectual property makes it easier to identify relevant IP rights and leverage them to your advantage.

Now, let’s delve into these five categories: 

  1. Trademark
    A great trademark should stand out and clearly indicate the source of a product or service, rather than just giving it a generic approval. Don’t use it to merely describe what your offering does. Also, make sure it’s noticeably different from other trademarks in your field to prevent any confusion. In simple words, a great trademark is all about being unique and easily distinguishable from the crowd.


  2. Patents (Utility Patent)
    When it comes to inventions, they must be brand-new to warrant protection, so keeping them under wraps to prevent any premature disclosure that could harm your patent application is crucial. These innovations must offer a technical advantage rather than being purely about looks. Moreover, your inventions should steer clear of being simple tweaks to existing ideas; they need to bring something fresh to the table.


  3. Patents (Registered Design Patent)
    When it comes to designs, they need to be fresh, so keeping them secret to prevent early exposure is crucial. These designs should stand out from what’s come before, ensuring a unique overall look. Registered designs safeguard physical shapes, configurations, 2D designs, surface patterns, and decorative elements, although they don’t cover technical functions.


  4. Copyright
    The works need to be genuinely original, crafted independently. Copyright rules cover the concrete expression of your work, rather than the initial idea behind it, such as when you put it into writing. It’s not all about visual appeal; even straightforward text or architectural designs can be safeguarded under these rules.


  5. Trade Secret
    A trade secret is essentially confidential business info that gives a company advantages in the market. People often turn to them when their invention can’t get a patent or if they’d rather not spill the beans publicly, which patents require. These secrets are valuable because they’re hidden from competitors, so you’ve got to actively work to keep them a secret. Some common trade secrets include how a company makes its sales, gets products out there, understands its customers, runs advertising campaigns, keeps tabs on suppliers and clients, and produces stuff. If someone who isn’t supposed to get their hands on confidential information steals it, it’s considered a breach of the trade secret, so keeping them safe is a big deal.

Once you’ve identified your intellectual property, it’s crucial to seek available legal protection to prevent unauthorized use. 

Intellectual property rights can be shared with others for a fee, often referred to as a royalty. These sharing agreements, including Intellectual Property licensing agreements, technology licenses, copyright agreements, or trademark licenses, spell out the terms between the owner of the IP rights and the person or company getting the license. In more complex situations, multiple agreements might be needed due to various rights involved.

In summary, understanding the basics of IP licensing can save you from future complications. Familiarize yourself with the process, gather the necessary paperwork, conduct thorough research, and never skip having a qualified IP attorney review and approve agreements before you finalize them. With the right approach, IP licensing can be a valuable tool for increasing your income and promoting your company’s growth.


Phoenix Strategy Group. (n.d.). Understanding the complex world of IP licensing: A beginner’s guide. 

Sonder and Clay. (n.d.). A beginner’s guide to intellectual property rights. Retrieved October 17, 2023, from 

Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys. (n.d.). What is a trade secret? Retrieved October 17, 2023, from