Even though it does not really exist, a Marvel superhero is intellectual property that a company like Disney can own.
- When Disney bought Marvel, approximately how many characters did it acquire?
- Describe Doorman, one of the characters Disney owns.
- Name three of the superheroes that Stan Lee helped to create.
- What is intellectual property?
- Explain what it means to have intellectual property protection.
- Why do the owners of intellectual property want protection for their property?
- Using the diagram in the post, identify an example of an item that is copyright protected.
- Using the diagram in the post, identify an example of an item that is not copyright protected.
The Economic Idea: Trademarks and Copyrights
When government gives us a trademark, a copyright, or a patent, it is preserving our ownership rights. A trademark says that others cannot use a phrase or symbol or design that identifies what we created. Examples include the Apple logo and the Nike swish. Meanwhile, copyrights and patents give us the exclusive right to use and profit from a song, a book, or a new computer design for a specified time period.
By protecting ownership, trademarks, copyrights, and patents create the incentive to innovate. They helped to inspire Stan Lee when he designed his superheroes. The value of its intellectual property was one reason that Disney purchased Marvel.
Activity Goal: To create intellectual property.
Procedure: Small groups.
- Divide into pairs or small groups (each with 3-5 students).
- Appoint a scribe to note what you decide, a leader to direct your discussion, and a reporter that will share your conclusions with the class.
- Your group’s task is to create a new superhero through a detailed description of the character’s appearance and powers.
- Then, explain how you might be able to profit from the character.
- Finally, indicate why you needed trademark or copyright protection.
- Re-gather as a class to share your superheroes and the reasons your intellectual property needed ownership protection.