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Intellectual property (IP)

Intellectual property (IP) is anything created by human minds: Inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, names and images used in business, and more. As it can sometimes have even more value than tangible assets, it needs to be properly protected.

In Canada, intellectual property can be registered for protection through the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). There are several different types of protection available depending on the nature of the intellectual property.

  • Patents cover new and useful inventions (product, composition, machine, process) or any new and useful improvement to an existing invention.
  • Industrial designs are the visual features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament, or any combination of these features applied to a finished article.
  • Trademarks may be one or a combination of words, sounds or designs used to distinguish the goods or services of one person or organization from those of others.
  • Copyright provides protection for literary, artistic, dramatic or musical works—including computer programs.
  • Trade secrets refer to unregistered, but valuable, business information that has not been publicly revealed.

More about intellectual property

For more information about intellectual property or to apply for IP protection, visit the CIPO website.