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What Is Intellectual Property?

In the instance that an individual invents, creates, or thinks of a variety of intangible assets, he or she is given exclusive rights to these assets. Protection of these rights as well as the rights themselves depends on the legal definition of such intangible assets, which is called intellectual property. Under this type of law, patents, trademarks, copyrights, and the like protect the right of the creator or author of a certain piece of intangible asset from the unauthorized use of such assets.

Intellectual property provides authors or creators legal monopolies over their own creations, whether it is artistic or commercial. Intellectual property rights are to intangible assets as certificates of title are to real property, it denotes ownership and the exclusive right to do whatever the owner wishes to do with his or her invention, artwork, idea, design, process, etc.

Not every invention or mental thought can be considered the sole intellectual property of an individual. Before someone is given an exclusive right to a piece of intangible property, it must be proven that the property is commercially viable. If so, it runs the risk of being stolen and reproduced by another entity in the hopes of gaining profit.

Intellectual property is not necessarily attributed to a single individual. When a person creates something under the management of an entity such as a company or corporation, the rights to such intellectual property may be held by the company or corporation the individual is working for. Thus, if the individual no longer works for the said entity, he or she cannot reproduce the intellectual property.

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