Once new products and services are created, they have to be protected. Many creative products qualify as intellectual property. Besides the attribute of belonging to someone, intellectual property is intangible. Copyright, patents, trademarks and designs are the most common forms of intellectual property.
By an economic analysis, the incentives granted for intellectual property rights have sometimes served the public benefit purpose and promoted innovation by ensuring that someone who devoted, say, ten years of penury while struggling to develop vulcanized rubber or a workable steamship, could recoup her or his investment of time and energy. Using monopoly power, the inventor could exact a fee from those who wanted to make copies of his or her invention. Set it too high, and others would simply try to make a competing invention, but set it low enough and one could make a good living from the fees (1)
Exclusive rights such as copyrights and patents secure their holder an exclusive right to sell, or license rights. As such, the holder is the only seller in the market for that particular item, and the holder is often described as having a monopoly for this reason. However, it may be the case that there are other items of intellectual property that are close substitutes. For example, the holder of publishing rights for a book may be competing with various other authors to get a book published. In such cases, economists may find that another market form, such as oligopoly or monopolistic competition better describes the workings of the markets for expressive works and inventions. This is one reason to prefer the term exclusive rights over monopoly rights.