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Intellectual property, or IP, is often defined as “creations of the mind”, so it is not surprising that it helps to protect important visual assets, which in a business sense often mean website content, brands and product design. For help with identifying the different types of IP in your business please get in touch.
IP can be broken down into a number of types, which suit different aspects of business creativity, with it often being the case that there is more than one type of right in any product, get up or creation, but the key and most common types are:
Registered trade marks protect brand elements such as names, logos, and straplines, and can even extend to shapes, colours, sounds and even smells. They are the kings of name rights, providing stronger rights to a name than either company names or domain names. If they are looked after, and renewal fees are paid, they can potentially live forever. UK trade mark no. 1, dating from 1 January 1876, is still registered. To find out more about our trade mark services please click here, or get in touch. Whilst domain names are not technically a form of IP, trade marks can impact on the registration of domain names, and can be used in domain dispute resolution procedures. To find out more about our domain name services please click here, or get in touch.
These rights protect new aspects of the appearance of a product, such as shape, pattern and ornamentation. Both the UK and wider EU recognise registered and unregistered design rights. Registered rights usually last for 25 years if all renewal fees are paid. For the UK and EU design protection should be filed at the latest within 12 months of launch or promotion, but this grace period does not apply in many countries so it is strongly advisable to seek protection at the outset prior to launch. To find out more about our design services please click here, or get in touch.
This is an automatic right arising at the point of creation. In the UK there is no official registration system. Copyright protects a range of literary and artistic rights, such as website content, marketing material, photographs, and your logo. Clear record keeping and ensuring correct ownership are often the key hurdles to successfully enforcing copyright. To find out more about our copyright services please click here, or get in touch.
These protect technical innovations in products and processes. They are granted for a 20 year period from application, with the trade off for protection being disclosure of detail. Key to valid patent protection is ensuring that no disclosure is made prior to an application being filed.