Intellectual property traditionally takes the form of either patent, copyright, trademark, or trade-secret protection. Often, a business may protect a single technology with multiple IP types. For example, a new electronic gadget may have patents on its core technology and implementations, copyrights on particular computer code used in the gadget, trademarks on the look and feel of the gadget, trade-secrets on the manufacturing process and other implementation particulars that may not be patentable, and integrated circuit topography protection for the IC layout.
Karl Lenz introduced some of these ideas in his arguments that patents on software should be banned. However, this protection overlay is a reality that inventors and businesses can use to their advantage.