Intellectual property law generally consists of copyright, patents, and trademarks. There are special issues, however, in the field of technology. Just as when one writes a book, invents a process or product, or develops a new process, that person often expects to see the fruits to his or her efforts in the form of financial remuneration, people who write computer programs or devise other applications for technology expect to secure rights to their intellectual property.
The problem with computers is that these rights, which were established for traditional written products and inventions, were often ill-suited for application in the computer industry because of the special nature of computer products.
For example, the traditional protection for inventors, securing a patent, proved unwieldy in the computer area for many reasons. It took so long to secure a patent that in many cases the rapidly changing technology had become obsolete by the time the patent had been perfected.
As technology has advanced to allow for the storage and retrieval of vast information databases and global access to such information resources, the science of information management has become increasingly important.
Professionals who are trained to manipulate and control this sea of information have particular value in society. Not only traditional librarians, but also a variety of system architects, consultants, and information specialists help people to locate and use the information they need.
The legal profession is particularly information-based, and technology gives lawyers access to more information than ever before, but in order to use information, lawyers need to be able to find the information they need, and lawyers who specialize in information resources are becoming increasingly valuable other legal practitioners.