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The three main components of intellectual property

Intellectual property is a hot topic these days, with so many innovators in New York and all over the world seeking acclaim and fortune via their inherent creativity. In order to ensure that all creations remain protected under the law, intellectual property owners should be aware of three main components.

As described by the U.S. Department of State, intellectual property can be categorized into one of three areas; copyrights, patents and trademarks. Copyrights cover original works encompassed in what is referred to as a 'tangible medium'. This includes novels, computer software, movies, songs and many other works. Intangible creations, such as a collection of facts or ideas, cannot be covered under copyright law. Copyrights allow intellectual property to remain in possession of the creator for the entirety of their lifespan plus 70 years.

When it comes to patents, patent owners are granted exclusivity to their intellectual property for a limited period of time. As a result, patent owners are able to sell, produce and use their creations until which time the patented item becomes public domain. Conversely, trademarks protect a unique identifier (such as a word or phrase) of a company, organization or product. There must be a strong link between a trademark and the items it distinguishes in order for the trademark to qualify for protection.

In addition to knowing the different types of intellectual property, inventors should also be aware of the best methods of protecting their creations. The Federal Bureau of Investigation offers a number of helpful tips, including safeguarding computer equipment from potential threats. Breaches can result in the theft of one's intellectual property, both digitally and on-site, which emphasizes the importance of robust security. Creators should also be careful about the types of items they discard, as these can be stolen from trash receptacles and used to determine propriety design aspects. 

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