people-woman-girl-writingIn this space, we've talked a lot about what intellectual property (IP) is and its importance to businesses. But sometimes it's helpful to get clarity by looking at things from a different perspective - in this case, what doesn't qualify as your intellectual property.


So, you've created the next great thing? Well unfortunately, if it's not an original design, your product isn't IP. For instance, if your invention is using a cotton swab as a small paintbrush, you're out of luck. That's not IP. You might be able to get a patent on the process of using it to paint, but your cotton swab paintbrush is not IP.


When it comes to sound and music, IP is determined by it's originality. If your sound is created by mixing together sounds from other artists, it's not likely to be considered IP. If your sound is you putting a new vocal track on an already established song, it is not IP.

Visual art

Visual art can be a little tricky. Much like sound, visual art IP is determined largely by it's originality, but because there is such a long and extensive history of visual art, finding something truly and verifiably original is extremely difficult. This means that if you're taking a picture from a unique angle, or painting something from a unique perspective, you've likely created IP of your own.

Recreations of other works or photos that are likely to have been taken multiple times (such as the iconic view of Central Park from the top of the Empire State Building), does NOT mean you are creating IP. Further, if your visual art is taking a photo and recoloring it or adding a filter to someone else's work, you are not creating IP.

Other areas

In general, the determining factor on whether something is or isn't IP is whether the product, whatever that might be, is unique; something no one else has come up with. If your product can stand up to that test, congratulations! You have on your hands something that is original, and needs to be protected.

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