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ZSR Library

Deacon Springboard : Intellectual Property

Resources for entrepreneurship students who are participating in Deacon Springboard


The purpose of this page is to help you find information about intellectual property. Intellectual property is divided into multiple subjects: patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets.


Patents protect new inventions and grant the exclusive right to exploit the new invention to the patent holder. In order to obtain a patent an invention must be useful, novel and non-obvious. Patents must be registered with the patent and trademark office. The invention submitted for patent is subject to a rigorous evaluation and a description of the invention must be submitted.

Copyright protects literary works by granting a set of exclusive rights to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. Copyright protects the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves.

Trademarks are marks associated with goods or services that serve to identify the source of those goods or services to consumers. Trademark law prohibits competitors from using the same mark on their goods or marks that are confusingly similar. The goal of trademark protection is twofold: to prevent consumer confusion, and to protect a seller's interest in protecting the goodwill it has accrued for its products.

Trade secrets refer to valuable information a business has acquired and wishes to keep secret from its competitors. If a business has been reasonably vigilant in protecting this information then courts will not allow competitors to benefit from using underhanded means to acquire the information.

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