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Every day we produce some type of intellectual property (also known as IP) from work-related projects and reports to individually created artwork, business processes, inventions, music, media, and more. The three basic types of IP are copyrights, trademarks, and patents. See Types of IP Rights section for a detailed chart which provides an overview of IPs by type and legal highlights.
If you have created something unique while at work or volunteering for an organization, you may not be the intellectual property owner. Unless it has been specified in advance, your intellectual work may belong to your employer. This is also known as work-for-hire.
Some intellectual works are intended for sharing with others, e.g. utilizing Creative Commons or other open source platforms, while other works are more proprietary and intended only for commerce. Copyrights, trademarks, and patents are the most common types of intellectual properties utilized to protect your own works.
The US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) differentiates between the three basic types of intellectual property here:
What's more, Nolo offers a helpful site including a section to compare copyrights, trademarks, and patents at
YIP is available to serve IP awareness needs from inventors to musicians. The appropriate intellectual property, when applied, could help protect your own intellectual property rights. See the navigation bar for your specific application or Email YIP for more.