5 January 2021 | News

Differences Between Copyright and Intellectual Property

The terms “copyright” and “intellectual property” are often used interchangeably.  However, copyright is just a part of the scope of intellectual property, as are trade marks, patents, and designs.  Intellectual property (IP) describes a form of property which is the intangible output of the human creative mind.  IP law came about to encourage the development of such ideas by offering protection to the creator of those ideas.

Intellectual Property is an umbrella term which includes several types of property. When one refers to “Our IP” they will normally be referring to the one or more copyrights, trade marks, patents, etc. that they hold.

Copyright is something that’s automatically granted to the creator of an original work, be that work a piece of literature, art, music, or software.  An idea itself is not protected by copyright, but the expression of that idea is.  Just as the other types of IP, copyright can be transferred to others, though it is usually the case that copyright is licensed in exchange for some sort of financial benefit, with licences often stipulating limits on both usage and expiry of the license.

Today, the tools that allow us to easily distribute our intellectual property-protected works are the same tools that facilitate easy misuse and abuse of those works.  Given that copyright lasts well beyond the lifetime of the creator, it is important to ensure that care is taken to protect copyrights and other IP that you own, as it is very easy for others to misappropriate your work.

For more information on how Aughton Ainsworth can support you in the area of Intellectual Property, please contact John McMuldroch at

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