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Ownership is the legal right to use, possess, and give away a thing. Ownership can be tangible such as personal property and land, or it can be of intangible things such as intellectual property rights. 

Some common usages of the term “ownership” in a legal sense include:

  • In the context of property, cases such as this one from Louisiana, explain that “the three elements of complete ownership of property are the right to possess, enjoy the use of, and to dispose of property.”
  • This case from Arizona, explains that “ownership for property tax purposes signifies the collection of rights to use and enjoy property, including the right to transmit it to others.”
  • In the context of copyright infringement action, cases such as this one from Texas, explain that ownership of a valid copyright can be established “by proving the originality and copyrightability of the material and compliance with statutory formalities.”

[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]