What is “Intellectual Property”?
“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States... the Congress shall have Power to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” United States Constitution, Article 1, Paragraph 8, Clause 8.
The writers of the Constitution understood that a U.S. Citizen has the right to protect the useful products can result from mental labor as well as physical labor. Over the years, a number of federal and international laws and best practices have evolved to protect so called “intellectual property”. The table below compares “intellectual property” with “real property”.
|Real Property||Intellectual Property|
|Example||Personal Automobile||Formula for a Synthetic Compound|
|How Acquired||With Cash Obtained Performing Physical Labor||With Time Spent Performing Mental Labor|
|Basic Rights||Ownership of Your Body||Ownership of Your Mind|
|Value to Others ||Yes ||Yes |
|What's Protected ||The Property Itself||Profit from Use |
|How it's Protected ||Laws Related to Theft ||Patent and Copyright Law |
|Can be Sold or Licensed ||Yes||Yes |