Intellectual property is the right to ownership of knowledge and is described as 'intellectual' as it refers to the application of the mind or creative work and as 'property' because it is an asset that can be owned, bought, sold or licensed like any other property. Most businesses will have some kind of intellectual property and it can be a valuable commercial asset when applied to industrial or business processes, trade secrets or other 'know-how'. It can also cover confidential information such as business plans, client lists or recipes.
If anyone uses your intellectual property without your permission or attempts to copy it you have legal rights against them for infringement. If the infringement involves counterfeiting (producing fake goods) or piracy (illegal copying) then your local Trading Standards Office may be able to help as well as the police and HMRC.
Intellectual property can be divided into four principal headings: trademarks, copyright, patents and design rights.
For more information on intellectual property go to: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/