Intellectual Property Rights (IP) protect your Intellectual assets from unlawful use. Today we use a number of legal tools to achieve that. According to WIPO: "Intellectual property rights are like any other property right. They allow creators, or owners, of patents, trademarks or copyrighted works to benefit from their own work or investment in a creation."
Some of these types of intellectual property rights are assigned automatically, to our creations, while others we have to apply for. So we can distinguise them into 2 categories:
- Unregistered rights which are automatically granted on creation (e.g. a trademark)
- Registered rights which have to be applied for and have an associated cost (e.g. a patent)
WIPO also divides Intellectual Property based on its subject matter :
- Copyrights and Related Rights
- Literary, artistic and scientific works (copyright)
- Performances of performing artists, phonograms, and broadcasts (related rights)
- Industrial Property
- Inventions in all fields of human endeavor (industrial property)
- Scientific discoveries (industrial property)
- Industrial designs (industrial property)
- Marks and commercial names and designations (industrial property)
- Protection against unfair competition (industrial property)
- Everything else falls somewhere between, often divided into branches.
Copyright is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps and technical drawings.
In copyright law we also have, related (or neighbouring rights). Related rights provide protection to the following persons or organizations:
- performers (actors, musicians, singers, dancers, or generally people who perform), in their performances;
- producers of sound recordings (for example, cassette recordings and compact discs) in their recordings; and
- broadcasting organizations, in their radio and television programs.
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention. Generally speaking, a patent provides the patent owner with the right to decide how - or whether - the invention can be used by others. In exchange for this right, the patent owner makes technical information about the invention publicly available in the published patent document.
A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Trademarks date back to ancient times when craftsmen used to put their signature or "mark" on their products.
An industrial design constitutes the ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article. A design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape or surface of an article, or of two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or color.
Geographical indications and appellations of origin are signs used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities, a reputation or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that place of origin. Most commonly, a geographical indication includes the name of the place of origin of the goods.
 According to "The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization" (1967) which gives the following list of subject matter protected by intellectual property rights.