A property can be defined as a resource with some form of assigned ownership, and an intellectual property is then a property of intellectual or intangible character. An intellectual property right (IPR) is a legally codified right created and used to assign ownership to intellectual resources such as knowledge, technologies, brand names, and other types of intellectual creations. The family of IPRs includes patent rights, copyrights, design rights, trademark rights, trade secret rights, and some other types of ancillary rights. IPRs are granted mainly to incentivize investments in creation and commercialization of new intellectual resources in order to improve the provision of innovations of various kinds to the benefit of consumers and society in general. However, IPRs have received critique not only for creating monopoly distortions but more recently also for counteracting innovativeness due to their increasingly dispersed exclusionary function. Nevertheless various IPR laws have become adopted more or less worldwide.
Published in Cook, D.T. and Ryan, J.M. (Eds.) The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2015.