Lesson 1: IP Defined

What is IP?

girl workingIP is a broad term that refers to specific and discrete forms of legal protection over certain aspects of human creative and inventive activity. IP rights are intangible assets created by law. It is sometimes hard to think of IP as a valuable business asset in the same way as one views their inventory, building or equipment, but it is an asset nevertheless and is becoming more valuable as the global knowledge economy generates more wealth from IP than from traditional goods.

Businesses need to recognize the strategic value of their IP and how to properly protect and manage it, given that IP is increasingly becoming a major commodity of the global knowledge economy.

The oldest and most common forms of IP are patents, copyrights, trademarks, confidential information/trade secrets (also referred to as the law of confidential information or “undisclosed information”) and industrial designs (also referred to as design patents).

There are, however, other more recently developed forms of IP that you need to be aware of when considering your overall IP portfolio, including:

  • domain names,
  • geographical indications,
  • plant varieties and
  • semiconductor chips (also referred to as silicon chips or integrated circuit topographies).
Last modified: Tuesday, 20 October 2020, 10:01 AM