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Intellectual property goes far beyond trademarks

Trademarks are often at the center of intellectual property disputes, but don't make the mistake of assuming the law doesn't offer even more protections. Intellectual property is defined fairly widely and can encompass many things that could be critical for your business.

For example, your intellectual property could be an artistic work you've created, whether that's a literary work, a piece of art, or even a performance. This protects people like singers and comedians, for instance, who create art in a very different way than writers and painters.

Scientific advancements can also be intellectual property. This could include both discoveries made in the scientific realm and inventions based off of these discoveries.

This is important because these things take time. Few inventions come about overnight. Discoveries are not made after just a few days in the lab. There's a whole building process and a series of small steps may eventually lead to the end goal. It's important to have all of this work protected along the way.

Ideas must be protected because they're one of the few things a person can have that may be unique. They can set an artist or a businessperson apart. Even something simple -- a new recipe for a type of food -- can be crucial to the success or failure of a company.

Ideas are somewhat abstract, and this can make cases of stolen ideas rather complicated, but rest assured that that law does offer protections for intellectual property of all types. If you think the law has been breached and your ideas are at stake, be sure you know what legal steps to take.

Source: Bright Hub, "Definition of Intellectual Property: It May Not Be What You Think," Rebecca Scudder, accessed July 20, 2017

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