Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
On some occasions, intellectual property rights may be lost if you do not enforce them. An example in the USA is that if you have a trademark, and do not take action if someone misuses it then it may become diluted and lost. And one of the great problems with protecting copyright is that (because) it costs nothing to gain, so it may cost a lot to defend.
By comparison a patent, an intellectual property right that can only be gained as a result of paying fees to governments (and likely to lawyers) requires a public disclosure of what you are patenting, so that anyone and everyone can see it. But the government stamp of approval, because you have paid fees, makes it easier to defend your rights.
The same is true of trademarks. As an intellectual property right they are registered with governments, and that gives you the ability to prevent other people from using the right that you registered. (Please note that in Common Law countries such as the UK and USA it may be sufficient to be able to prove that you have been using a trademark for the genuine purpose of trade to gain the right to prevent others from being able to use it, but it is much easier if it is registered.) But you have to enforce your rights or you can lose them.
One thing to be aware of is that some intellectual property rights do not give you absolute rights to control information.
Patents, as we mentioned, require you to make the content of the patent available to anyone, and they are free to copy the information in the patent and do what they want with it, except build something covered by the patent. Patents stop being valid after a period of time, sometimes up to 25 years from filing.
Copyright has other differences. People have the right to quote small amounts of the work for the purposes of analysis, criticism and so on. Also they make a parody of the work. And they may use it for private study. Copyright lasts longer than patent, being up to 100 years (films) or 85 years after the death of the last author (books) depending on the country you are in.
So when you are dealing with intellectual property rights, you need to know what kind of intellectual property you are dealing with, or if it is actually a trade secret, before deciding how best it is to be protected and how best you will defend your rights if someone decides to try and misuse them.