As Michigan businesses grow, it is important to protect ideas, products and services that are unique to the brand and business. While there are tangible products that you can copyright or trademark, there are also concepts, ideas, images and even an arrangement of words that are also yours to protect. These are known as intellectual property.

According to FindLaw, intellectual property can be licensed or sold to others, but when the patent is used without permission, you may be able to sue the person or business who used it. The three types of intellectual property are trademarks, copyrights and patents.

The federal protection of any type of invention is known as a patent. These are designed to encourage the inventor to make, sell or use the invention for a short period of time. There are three types of patents: plant patents, design patents and utility patents.

Another type of intellectual property is the trademark. Trademarks are used to promote services and goods and separate them from similar products of others. They can come in the form of devices, symbols or words. The identifying issue is whether someone else using the trademark will confuse consumers about which products are yours.

A copyright is also a type of intellectual property. This is the basic federal protection or things like recordings, music, movies, books, software and photographs. Those who own the copyright have the right to distribute and sell their work, reproduce their copyright and perform the work publicly.

As businesses create new products, services and ideas, it is important that they are protected by intellectual property. The future of your business may depend on a trademark, copyright or patent.

This information is intended for educational purposes and should be interpreted as legal advice.