Intellectual Property Primer

Intellectual property (IP) is generally characterized as patents, copyright, trademark, know-how, trade secret, or mask works. In some cases the categories of intellectual property are mutually exclusive. For example, it is not possible to maintain a trade secret and also obtain a patent on the same subject matter because by definition, a patent is a public disclosure (i.e., it’s no longer a secret). However it is possible to both copyright and patent various aspects of the same intellectual advancement.

Types of Intellectual Property



Trademark and service marks


Trade secret

Mask works

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