Intellectual property (IP) is a cluster of legally recognised rights associated with innovation and creativity – the works of the mind, as opposed to physical products, land and other tangible resources. Intellectual property is divided into two categories:

  • Industrial property, which includes inventions such as patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source, and
  • Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs.

Legal protection of intellectual property is necessary to prevent others from making unauthorised use thereof to the detriment of the true owner, and to ensure that the true owner enjoys the full commercial benefit of his or her creative efforts.