Intellectual property is a property right that can be protected under federal and state law, including copyrightable works, ideas, discoveries, and inventions. Intellectual property is composed of various categories, mainly patents, trademarks (classified as goods or services), domains, utility models and industrial designs.
There are many legal differences in intellectual property between different countries. For example, in the USA the user of a trademark may acquire certain common law rights simply by being the first to use the mark in commerce, even without registration. In the EU however, trademarks must be registered to receive protection. Another difference, is that in USA there are two types of applications, use-in-commerce and intent-to-use (i.e. the trademark has to be currently in use or show within an agreed upon timeframe that the trademark will be in use). On the other hand, EU does not require the trademark to be currently in use, albeit if it is not used during five (5) consecutive years another party can, by bringing a claim before the European Intellectual Property Office, attempt to get it rendered invalid based on its lack of use.
On a Worldwide basis, currently, the total number of patent applications totals approximately 3.1mln, increasing at a 7% CAGR since 2014 (compounded annual growth rate).
China is the leading country worldwide in intellectual property. Previously however, USA was the leading country worldwide, however, the technological boom in China resulted in the number of patent applications in China increasing tenfold compared to the year 2004.