Intellectual Property (IP) is an umbrella term used to refer to the object of a variety of laws, including patent law, copyright law, trademark law, trade secret law, industrial design law, and potentially others. These laws provide exclusive rights to certain parties and many of them implement government-granted monopolies. Copyrights, for example, generally allow only one party to make copies of a work.
Critics of the term argue it should be avoided since it implies that the product of the intellect is subject to standard forms of property law, when the actual laws involved are extremely different. Other critics argue that the entire concept is invalid, since it tries to group many things that actually have very little in common, and thus leads to fallacious reasoning through over-generalization.
Among the laws considered to be “intellectual property” laws:
Patents, Trademarks and Design Rights are often referred to more specifically as industrial property.