What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property is the legal right to ideas, inventions and creations in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. It also covers symbols, names, images, designs and models used in business. Without realizing it, your business may be creating IP assets that should be protected.

Benefits for businesses

Establishing intellectual property protection for your goods, services or brand names is important for a variety of reasons. Intellectual property can:

  • Establish a right to, and ownership of, your intellectual creations so you can profit from them
  • Prevent competitors from copying or closely imitating your products or services
  • Protect the distinct identity, image, and reputation of your business
  • Build customer trust and loyalty by establishing a unique brand name or image

As a business owner, you should consider formally identifying your IP assets as part of your strategic planning. Learn more about what intellectual property is and its importance to business by reviewing the following:

Forms of intellectual property

Learn about the types of IP protection that may apply to your intellectual activity.

  • Integrated Circuit Topographies
    Find information on what integrated topographies are and how they can be protected as intellectual property.
  • Industrial designs
    Find information about intellectual property rights for industrial designs, how to register an industrial design, and how to access and search the Industrial Design Database.
  • Copyright
    Find out what copyright is, what your rights and obligations under the Copyright Act of Canada are, and how to file for a copyright.
  • Trademarks
    Find out what trademarks are, why they are important to business, and how to file for one.
  • Patents
    Find out what a patent is, why it is important to business and inventors, and how to file for a patent.
  • Trade Secrets
    Learn how trade secrets can be used as an alternative to patents in order to protect your invention.
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