What does your business own? You may have purchased manufacturing equipment or constructed your company’s office building. However, identifying a company’s intellectual property (IP) can be more challenging for many business owners.

No matter your industry, creating new products, developing new processes and establishing a brand that connects with your customers help you stay ahead of the competition. This innovation is one of your most important business assets. Identifying which intellectual property can be protected can give your business a foundation for long-term success.

The protections offered to intellectual property depend on the type of creation.

Generally, intellectual property is a “creation of the mind,” as the World Intellectual Property Organization notes. While they are not physical items, these creative works or innovative solutions can still benefit their original creators.

Artistic works can include paintings, recordings, films, books, songs and other creative works. Copyright generally protects the original creators’ rights to perform or reproduce their work through recordings and other media.

Trademarks represent product names, logos, company names and marketing taglines. If other companies create counterfeits with this information, that counterfeiting can damage a company’s reputation.

Industrial property can be protected either through patents or by keeping certain information a trade secret. This property involves different aspects of products or the manufacturing process, and can include:

  • Industrial designs used in the manufacturing process
  • New processes used in the manufacturing process
  • Product formulas
  • Technical solutions to mechanical problems
  • Inventions that a company could market to the general public
  • Software

If you wonder what creations or inventions your company can protect, consult with an experienced IP attorney. They can help you explore your options and choose legal solutions that will keep your business and IP secure for years to come.