When you see the Starbucks mermaid certain ideas, feelings, and even smells come to mind. This is not by magic but by marketing and the use of trademarks. Just like businesses, nonprofits benefit from trademarks. Trademarks help to establish, build, and maintain a brand that is unique, not only in the eyes of the public but in the law.
Intellectual Property is the intangible rights protecting products of the human intellect, comprised generally of copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. Without exception, IP permeates throughout every nonprofit: websites; newsletters; logos; books/articles; music; computer code; unique systems, processes, and methods; campaigns; and more. Often, nonprofits create intellectual property without even realizing it. Knowing how to handle IP is vital for nonprofit Executive Directors and CEOs.