Hard IP

Although hard IP is usually taken to mean patents and perhaps know-how, it is perhaps better considered as the type of IP that permits or facilitates certain activities, processes and services or the making of tangible goods and refers to ownership of functional ideas as opposed to rights over expression and aesthetic aspects of ideas in the form of copyrights and trademarks. Practitioners of what is known as soft IP sometimes regard the distinction as pejorative and belittling. The dividing line between hard and soft IP is difficult to define, software for example being a tricky area.