What is Intellectual Property (IP)?

What exactly is intellectual property (IP)?  

According to the UK Gov.uk website, "Intellectual property is something unique that you physically create - an idea alone is not intellectual property. For example, an idea for a book is not intellectual property, but the words you’ve written are."  

So how do you know what actually constitutes IP ownership? If you created it, bought the rights for it, or have a brand that could be a trademark, you could own IP.

So what types of IP are there?  According to the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), there are 5 types:

  • Copyright: the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works (such as books, paintings, film, sculpture, computer programs).
     
  • Patents: an exclusive right granted for an invention, with the right to decide whether or not others can use the design.
     
  • Trademarks: a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises.
     
  • Industrial Designs: the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article. A design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of an article, or of two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or colour.
     
  • Geographical Indications: signs used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities, a reputation or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that place of origin. Most commonly, a geographical indication includes the name of the place of origin of the goods.

Within the University, Oxford University Innovation can help answer any questions about IP you may have.

 

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