Intellectual Property: The Interplay Between Patents and Other Forms of Intellectual Property
K. A. Zullow and R. A. Karmas. Goodwin Procter, New York, NY. Cereal Foods World 53(2):106-110.
Intellectual property has been defined as a “category of intangible rights protecting commercially valuable products of the human intellect.” In practical terms, intellectual property relates to patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret rights, as well as unfair competition, publicity, and moral rights, which are not addressed in this series. Patents and trade secrets protect functionally useful technologies (i.e., the useful arts), but in different ways. Trademarks protect brand reputation and are extremely important to the consumer products industry, including the food industry. Copyrights protect works of authorship, including computer software programs. Intellectual property laws strive to achieve a balance between promoting and protecting true innovation, denying or extinguishing rights in questionable intellectual property, and providing the public with reasonable access to new and useful technologies and products. Below is an overview of patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret rights, and the interplay between them in achieving the goals of intellectual property law.