Legal concept

Intellectual property is a legal concept which refers to the creations of the mind and relates to the translation of ideas, research outcomes and knowledge into an asset, for which exclusive rights are recognised. Such intangible assets (as opposed to tangible ‘physical’ assets) can be protected and traded to provide value, whether through commercial exploitation and translation or socio-economic impact for the wider public.


Under intellectual property law, owners can be granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of these intangible assets, such as musical, literary and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols and designs.

Common types of intellectual property rights (IPRs) include copyright, trademarks, patents, design rights and trade secrets.