Real, Personal, and Intellectual Properties


There has been a need for a clear understanding of the difference between real, personal, and intellectual properties. In his book, Kongolo (2008) wonders whether real property is genuine as compared to intellectual property. This has been a concern, especially among scholars who have come out strongly to help distinguish the difference between personal property, real property, and intellectual property. To be in a position to give a clear difference on the three and compare them, it is important that the meaning of the word property be clearly understood. According to The City Law School, (2008), property refers to anything that an individual can claim ownership. This institution further states that the society has been oblivious of the existence of the three types of properties, especially the intellectual property, always assuming that a property is that which can be touched.

Personal Property

Personal property refers to any property that is movable from one place to another and it should be tangible. The owner can move it from one place to another, change its ownership if need be. Such properties like computers, cameras and a television set would be considered personal properties

Real Property

Real property refers to those properties that cannot be moved from one place to another. The owner has the right to sell them, prevent other people from accessing them but the owner cannot change its location. The best example of a real property is land or a building.

Relationship between Personal Property and Intellectual Property

Both types of properties can be seen physically and can be touched. Their value is always based on this similarity. However, the difference that comes out between them is that while personal properties are movable, real properties are not.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property refers to the intangible property. It is the property of the mind. Such properties as patent, copyright and trademark are some of the examples of intellectual properties.

Relationship between Personal, Real and Intellectual properties

The three types of properties share the similarity because their owner has an exclusive right of determining how to use them, when to sell, lease and donate the property. However, unlike personal and real properties, intellectual properties cannot be seen nor touched. As Lisa and Amy (2006) noted, real property and personal property are physical properties, while intellectual property is the property of the mind.


There has been a great confusion between the three types of properties. Although the difference between real and intellectual property has been clear, there has been a great confusion on which property would be considered as real property and which would be treated as a personal property. The difference between the two is that real property cannot be moved, while intellectual property can be moved freely.


Kongolo, T. (2008). Unsettled International Intellectual Property Issues. Bedfordshire: Kluwer Law International.

Lisa, G. & Amy, D. (2006).The Essential Guide to Federal Employment Laws. California: Nolo.

The City Law School, (2008). Employment Law in Practice. New York: Oxford University Press.

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