Design Patents vs. Other Types of Intellectual Property For some, intellectual property is hard to understand. Intellectual property refers to ideas and thoughts that are not tangible. These different pieces of “property” can still be important to the success of businesses and individuals involved in various walks of life, including design, art, music and more. There are plenty of different options for those who are looking to secure their rights to their intellectual property. It is important for individuals and businesses to understand their options, as they should choose the best form of protection for their property. Copyrights Copyrights prevent others from using any aspect of your intellectual property. This is important for those who are in the music industry. It keeps others from stealing the lyrics, beats, riffs, and melodies of songs. Copyrights are good until 70 years after the passing of the copyright author. Design Patent Design patents are an important first step for those who are looking to invent something. Design patents help to protect the ideas of the actual design before the design is created, or before the product is created. This simply helps to patent the idea, or intellectual property, surrounding the invention. Trade Secrets Companies that utilize trade secrets do not want to claim any rights on these secrets, as doing so (filing for a patent) would provide the secret to all who look up the file. Trade secrets are somewhat protected. They cover ideas and recipes that help to make a product or company unique. Many see this as “intellectual property” because it is the knowledge of a mixture or combination, and not of an actual tangible product. Trademarks Trademarks help to identify companies. The branding a company does, including names and logos, can all be considered intellectual property. A company cannot use a name or logo that is too close to the logo of another company, especially if it can cause confusion as to which company is which. Trademarks prevent companies from infringing on the intellectual property rights of another company as far as brand recognition is concerned.