Protecting Intellectual Property

Products and processes. New or improved machines. Designs, symbols and images. Works of art, music and literature. All of these different “creations of the mind” have one thing in common: They can have tremendous commercial value.

That’s why businesses take great pain to preserve their ideas and protect such intellectual property from unauthorized use by others. Check out four basic types of intellectual property protection: patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret. Then explore other important IP issues. Here are some basics to consider, taken from our A Guide To Intellectual Property Protection .

Patent Protection

Patents reward inventors for the time, money and creative talent they invest in an invention. 

Trademark Protection

Words, names and symbols identify products, services and companies. 

Copyright Protection

Books, music, computer programs, and other types of literary and artistic expression.

Trade Secret Protection

Formulas, patterns, devices, processes, tools, mechanisms or compounds valuable to a business.

Commonly Asked Questions

Clear up confusion about intellectual property and intellectual property rights. 

Patent & Trademark Depository Libraries

Two public libraries in Minnesota with comprehensive patent and trademark resources.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks.

United States Copyright Office

Administers licensing for certain copyrighted works and oversees mandatory deposit provisions.