On Monday, we celebrated ‘World Intellectual Property Day,' which aims to shine a light on the indispensable role IP protection plays in elevating the value of businesses. Here, Tod Davies and Ella Brace explore some of the ways you can best protect your IP.
Protecting your business’ brand, designs, technology, or creative works is an imperative part of creating a resilient and competitive business.
IP protection helps to increase public awareness of your products and services; distinguish your products and services from your competitors, and protect innovative developments made by your business. But what are the best ways to protect your IP?
Copyright protects original artistic, musical, dramatic, and literary works. For example, a painting, book, or song lyrics. Ownership in copyright allows the owner to prevent unauthorised use of the work.
Copyright arises automatically on the creation of an original work if certain requirements are met. For copyright to exist, the creation must be:
A trademark is a sign used by a trader to distinguish its products or services from those of other traders, such as brand names or company logos. But can also consist of the shapes of products, colours, sounds, gestures, and slogans. Examples are the ‘JUST DO IT’ slogan by Nike, or Heinz’s use of the colour turquoise on tins of baked beans.
Ownership of a trademark grants the exclusive use of the mark in connection with the goods or services for which it is registered, and allows the owner to prevent any competing businesses who might use an identical or similar mark in the course of trade.
Trademark protection is obtained through registration. To be registerable, a trademark must be:
Registered design rights can protect both 3D and 2D designs. Design means the appearance of the whole or part of a product and covers lines, contours, shapes, textures or materials.
Design rights grant the exclusive right to make articles incorporating the design, allowing the owner to sue for infringement if third parties make, sell, or import products bearing a design which is a copy, or substantially a copy of the registered design, where such acts are undertaken for commercial purposes.
You must apply for protection. To be registerable a design must be:
Patents protect new inventions. For example, a new medical drug. Patent rights prevent third parties from using this invention when developing their own products or processes.
Patents require registration and the application should be drafted by a specialist patent agent. To meet the requirements for a patent:
If you think your business could benefit from IP protection, or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our dedicated team of experts.