More and more assets are intangible by nature. Your ‘intellectual property’ is valuable and should be registered and protected. There are three main types of IPRs:
Trademarks and patents are awarded on a territorial basis i.e. they apply only in particular states; whereas copyrights apply almost worldwide.
Patents have a typical duration of 20 years; and copyrights 50-70 years until after the death of the author. Trademarks on the other hand, although initially registered for 10 years, can in theory last forever.