Legal Regimes for Protecting Intellectual Property
Various legal regimes exist for protecting intellectual property. Trademarks, patents, copyrights and trade secrets are discussed below in detail. These regimes can be used to protect intellectual property These regimes can be used to protect intellectual property from misuse or misappropriation by any third party.
The above list comprises the most important forms of intellectual property protection, although others exist. For example, U.S. law provides for the protection of mask works, that is to say, masks for integrated circuits (e.g. microprocessors). Federal law and various state laws also criminalize various forms of the misappropriation of intellectual property. Most businesses will never need to utilize such forms of intellectual property protection.
Also, businesses and individuals may enter into various private contractual relationships to protect intellectual property from misuse or misappropriation. Some of these types of relationships are described below under business practices for protecting intellectual property.