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Intellectual property can include trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets.

  • A trademark or service mark may protect goodwill associated with a source of a product or a service.
  • A copyright can provide protection for a creative expression in a tangible form.
  • A patent may provide protection for an invention.
  • A trade secret can protect proprietary information that is developed by a business that takes reasonable steps to keep that proprietary information confidential.

Development of intellectual property often occurs when a business develops a new product or service.  It is also helpful to recognize when a particular technology or innovation may be protected by one or more types of intellectual property.  For instance, a particular logo may be used as a trademark and could also be subject to copyright protection.  It can often be helpful for a business to take steps to identify when it has developed commercially significant intellectual property so that steps may be taken to protect that intellectual property.