Intellectual Property

Some types of property involve images, ideas, concepts, or arrangements of words. Collectively, these are referred to as intellectual property (IP). For example, someone who designs a better mouse trap and then receives a patent for her idea possesses IP. This property may be sold or licensed to others, but the patent holder may sue if another party uses her patent without permission. Other types of IP include copyrights (such as artwork, photographs, and published books) and trademarks, which are used to identify a brand (the Nike "swoosh," for example). FindLaw's Intellectual Property section covers the three main types of IP and related issues for small business owners. You will also find information about nondisclosure agreements, software licenses, and more.