In this exceedingly competitive world, Intellectual Property and its protection in law is pivotal for any business.
Intellectual Property is a broad term which refers to ‘creations of the mind’. The law allows for creativity to be rewarded by giving creators the protection and recognition for their ideas, concepts and inventions.
The protection of these ideas can be divided into two categories; registered and unregistered.
Each registered right is granted by an official (usually Government) body, such as the Intellectual Property Office after an application has been sought. Registered rights are also “monopoly rights” – this means that the owner has exclusive control and can prevent others from using the right without their permission. In terms of registered rights, these come in the form of trademarks, patents and registered design rights.
Trademarks are signs capable of distinguishing goods and services from one business from another. Trademarks can also be referred to as a ‘badge of origin’ and can be anything that identifies your brand, such as the name, word, or logo. In essence, it is the thing that conveys the brand’s characteristics and allows customers to find and remember you. Each trademark lasts for a duration of ten years and, in reality, a company will have multiple trademarks
Patents, whilst expensive, provide the exclusive right to protect a product’s technical function. In order to be successfully granted, the invention:
- must be new (never been in the public domain)
- involve an inventive step (meaning that is ‘not obvious’ to ‘a person skilled in the art’) and
- be capable of industrial application.
Once granted, this type of protection lasts for a period of 20 years. Patent rights are also territorial, which means that UK patent holders will only maintain this right within the UK.
Registered design rights allow for the appearance of a product, such as the shape, appearance, configuration and decoration to be protected. Registration of your design means that others are prevented from using or copying the design for a duration of 25 years.
Unregistered rights arise automatically when certain requirements are met. These types of rights, which include copyright and unregistered design rights
are typically more difficult to enforce. As a result, it is preferable to register your rights.
Copyright protection currently arises in original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, as well as, sound recordings, broadcasts, films, where the necessary requirements are met. It allows the owner to protect against others reproducing or copying their work.
Protecting your assets
Each business is packed full of ideas, concepts and products, and therefore, IP can often be a business’ most valued asset. So, if you are launching a business it is essential you consider your Intellectual Property rights sooner rather than later.
This is something that the team at 2020 Business Law can help you with. Let’s talk – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01980 676875.