Intellectual Property Rights Real Estate InvestingIntellectual property rights consist of legal rights you can claim on your creations. In other words, under the law if you invent or create something new, you can have the right to take credit for and profit from your invention. Once they are registered, others cannot use these creations for profit or take credit for them without permission or compensation. These rights include such items as trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets.

Different Intellectual Property Rights

If you own a trademark, it is good to know that the life of a trademark is endless, as long as the mark continues to be used and renewed. So if you own a trademark, take the time to make certain it is included in your estate plan and your heirs are educated about how to protect your intellectual property rights in that asset.

The intellectual property rights of trade secrets live on forever, as long as they are kept secret. If you have a business that is using a trade secret, now is the time to educate your heirs about the importance of your trade secret and how to protect it. Trade secrets should be included in your estate planning. They can be passed on to your heirs.

A patent is issued by the government giving the creator of an invention the sole right to make, use, and sell that invention for a set period of time, usually twenty years. This lets the inventor have time to profit from the invention, but also gets the idea into commerce for future use by others. A patent can be devised to your heirs.

A copyright is an intellectual property that by its very definition outlives its creator. By statute, a copyright continues for 70 years after the death of the “works” author. I know a woman who wrote a simple child’s song. It was sung before her death, but the popularity of the song has greatly increased since her death. Her son profits more from the song than she ever did. Think of celebrities you know who have passed away recently, and you still enjoy their work, so you can understand the importance of their intellectual property rights. Their earnings can be passed to the beneficiaries of their estate.

Therefore, if you have authored a book, a song or computer program in your real estate investing business you have intellectual property.  Likewise, if you have a ground-breaking invention or have built a business whose name and goodwill have value, take time to make certain the intellectual property rights are protected and will go to the people you choose.

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