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Program Illicit: The Dark Trade

  • 1. Learn about intellectual property.
    Intellectual property protects creations of the mind. Intellectual property is divided into three categories:

    • Copyrights (©) protect original creations, such as books, video games, movies, characters, and music. They give only the author “the right to copy.”
    • Patents protect inventions, such as new pharmaceuticals and airplane designs, for a period of time.
    • Trademarks (™) protect the distinctive signs or logos used to distinguish different products or services.

    Can you think of specific, present-day examples of each?

    2. Investigate intellectual property.

    To better understand how different types of intellectual property play a role in your daily life, do the following:

    • Complete an invention search at school, at home, or at the grocery store. Do this by listing as many inventions as you can within a given area. If you’re not sure, look for patent numbers on products.
    • Keep track of the trademark names and/or company logos that you see between the time you leave your house in the morning and the time you go to bed at night.
    • Conduct a copyright search by looking for the © copyright symbol on items in your classroom or bedroom.

    3. Create intellectual property.
    Draw or make a model of your own invention. Be sure to give it an appropriate name.

  • Materials You Provide

    • Colored pencils
    • Paper
    • Pencils
    • Pens

    Required Technology

    • Internet Access: Optional
    • Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector, Speakers
    • Plug-Ins: Flash

    Recommended Prior Activities

    • None
  • Background Information

    Intellectual property is a legal concept that protects creations of the mind. Examples of intellectual property include inventions, literary works, original songs, or corporate logos. Historically, intellectual property was a less important part of the economy. In today’s global economy, intellectual property has growing importance.


    Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    copyright Noun

    legal ability to make copies of artwork, usually restricted to the owner or creator of the artwork.

    intellectual property Noun

    material created by creative thought that is protected by trademark or copyright.

    patent Noun

    legal right to make or sell an invention.

    trademark Noun

    word or symbol used by manufacturers to label their products.


U.S. Chamber of Commerce