It's early days and already a number of questions have been asked in relation to trademarks and trademark registration. So, I thought I'd write a quick article as a cheat sheet on intellectual property for members.
What is Intellectual Property?
As the name suggests; it is property created by intellect or the mind. Intellectual property covers many different, more specific 'things', including:
Trademarks: any sign that one trader uses to distinguish their goods/services from others. A 'brand' name or logo are the most common types of trademarks.
Patents: protection granted to devices, methods, processes that are new, inventive and useful. Often a patent can be viewed as a 'solution to a problem' that hasn't been done before.
Designs: protection for the look/appearance of a product - its shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation when it's new and distinct.
Copyright - automatic protection and right to certain works, such as literary works (books, poems, software code), artistic works (paintings, sculptures, photographs) and dramatic works (plays, peformances) amongst other things.
I would consider the above the most common and most likely to exist within your business. If you are a plant breeder then its also possible to register for plant breeders rights for new varieties you have developed, and also possible to protect original circuit layouts you may design.
Picture a photocopier. The way this works would fall under a patent; the way it looks under a design; the brand of it under a trademark and its written manual under copyright.