Intellectual property law is commonly understood as an incentive for authors and inventors to produce works for the benefit of the public by regulating the public's use of such works in order to ensure that authors and inventors receive compensation for their efforts. The three broadest segments of an intellectual property practice are advisory, protection and compliance. Unlike traditional property, intellectual property is indivisible: an unlimited number of people can consume an intellectual good without it being exhausted. Intellectual property can be used for a variety of reasons, such as branding and marketing, as well as to protect assets that offer a competitive advantage.
From the textile prints of medieval Venice to the blockbusters of Hollywood, intellectual property law has evolved tremendously over the past five centuries. Today, strong intellectual property protections are recognized as one of the cornerstones of the formation and growth of small businesses in the United States, especially since the advent of the Internet and other new technologies have brought new ideas and innovations into fashion. Some commentators have pointed out that the goal of intellectual property legislators and those who support its implementation seems to be absolute protection. It is believed that the human mind itself is the source of wealth and survival and that all property at its base is intellectual property.
The alternative terms information monopolies and intellectual monopoly have emerged among those who argue against assumptions of property, intellect or rights, in particular Richard Stallman. Extracting value from intellectual property and preventing others from deriving value from it is an important responsibility for any company. The value of intellectual property to an individual or company is not based on physical properties, such as size and structure. And international laws related to intellectual property were significantly amended with the adoption in 1994 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
Most state bar associations will also have an intellectual property section and a list is also maintained on the AIPLA website. Although there are many different types, all intellectual property is innovative, developed through a creative and intangible process. While the basic social objectives of intellectual property protection are those described above, it should also be noted that the exclusive rights granted are generally subject to a number of limitations and exceptions, in order to refine the balance that must be found between the legitimate interests of the right holders and users.