Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the human mind and includes inventions, symbols, names, images, designs, and literary and artistic works. The failure to identify and properly analyze IP issues can lead to increased costs and lost business opportunities. See Quick Tips for Intellectual Property Creators, Resources Page. In an effort to assist independent inventors and the small business community, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have launched a free online tool — the IP Awareness Assessment Tool. The IP Awareness Tool is intended to help users increase awareness of IP issues relevant to their creative projects and business goals. Users first answer a comprehensive list of questions regarding IP, after which the tool prepares a set of training resources tailored to the needs of the user. Understanding a few basic principles of patents, trademarks, and copyrights, and can go a long way in helping you to reduce costs and take advantage of business opportunities.