Definition: The ownership of ideas. Unlike tangible assets to your business such as computers or your office, intellectual property is a collection of ideas and concepts.
There are only three ways to protect intellectual property in the United States: through the use patents, trademarks or copyrights. A patent applies to a specific product design; a trademark to a name, phrase or symbol; and a copyright to a written document. All three methods have limitations--there's no one perfect way to protect an idea.