What every professional, creative and maker really should know about intellectual property

By guest contributor Melissa Slater of The Hughes Agency


Endeavor’s signature Getting Down to Business speaker series recently featured Lindsey Wright, Esq., Associate Attorney with Campbell Teague, to discuss what every professional, creative, and maker should know about intellectual property.

Teague was tasked with sharing the basics of IP with us (without all those lawyer words), as well as helping us learn what counts as IP, why it’s important to protect it, and how to identify and handle these kinds of situations.

As a public relations account executive who works with many different clients and creatives daily, I was eager to get a digestible understanding of what intellectual property is, and how it pertains to me and my clients in everyday life.


Here’s what I, (and a full room), learned:


  1. What is intellectual property?

In a nutshell, intellectual property is creations of the mind. This is a range of anything from inventions to literary and artistic works, to symbols and images used in commerce that are legally protected from unauthorized use by others.

  1. There are five different types of intellectual property.


  • Trade Secrets – To qualify as a trade secret, the information must be commercially valuable, be known to only a limited group of people, and be subject to reasonable steps taken by the rightful holder of the information to keep it secret. Example: a client list
  • Trademarks – A unique identifier for a business, its products, or its service, like a word mark, stylized mark, or slogan. Example: Endeavor’s logo
  • Copyrights – Considered “the artsier side” of intellectual property, these are works of authorship, typically books, poems, music, or photographs. Example: The Lord of the Rings book series
  • Patents – Things that are a unique way to create something, such as inventions or industrial designs. Example: “electronic device”
  • Digital Assets – This 5th category is popping up more as technology and law continue to develop. It touches all areas of intellectual property and includes proprietary software code, algorithms, and any online digital content.


  1. How do we protect our intellectual property?

Intellectual property is one of the biggest investments you make as a business, especially with regard to your brand’s name or likeness. Understanding your rights is vital in protecting your business. You can do this by taking the time to go to presentations (like Lindsey’s) and understanding the different terms and how they integrate into your daily life and business. Even just reading an article will put you one step ahead of someone else.

Taking preventative measures, like registering your mark or patent with USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), asserting your right to a copyright publicly, collecting information and documenting, documenting, documenting is key!

Lastly, attaining legal representation is extremely helpful (but not required) when handling these kinds of situations.The best time to invest in your intellectual property is as early as possible. There are three business changes that would indicate that you should bring in a trademark attorney to start the process of applying for a word, stylized mark for your business, etc.

  1. Adding an e-commerce element to your business
  2. Making a large financial investment regarding your likeness
  3. When the market begins to become saturated in your geographic area


In conclusion, intellectual property is A LOT. And there is a lot you can do to protect what is rightfully yours. Certainly more than I expected, prior to attending Lindsey’s presentation. For a deeper, more in-depth conversation surrounding intellectual property, I would highly suggest giving Lindsey Wright a call.


*Fun Fact: Chick-fil-A sauce is NOT considered a trade secret. Did you know that recipes are not copyrightable, but cookbooks are?