IP Basics- What is intellectual property?

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Intellectual property in many forms surrounds us in our everyday life, but surprisingly not many people actually know what it is and how it can help you in all aspects of business.

Intellectual property is the intangible protection that occurs when a person creates a new concept or idea.

By protecting your unique ideas or creations, you can prevent anyone else from using, making, selling or copying them.

There are four types of intellectual property, all available to be protected. These are Patents, Trade marks, Designs and Copyright.

Patents are there to protect unique processes or products. They can cover how a product works, what they do, how they are made or any unique material they are made from. This is the protection you should consider if you have an invention that is new to the market that you want exclusivity over.

Trade marks are the brand name or logo for your business. A trade mark can consist of words, phrases or a picture logo. A trade mark can be a very useful tool to create brand for your customers to recognise your business from. It also allows you to build a reputation which can be easily recognised in an industry.

Designs are there to protect the appearance of a product. They can be for the overall appearance of a product, the shape or specific colour. Your design has to be unique to allow it to be protected.

Copyright is a wider form of protection. It can cover a number of creations including literary works, photography, art, music, software, computer programmes, films, websites as well as others. As with all intellectual property, any work needs to be a unique creation originating from yourself before it can be protected by copyright.

Some types of intellectual property protection occur automatically where as some requires registration. Copyright is an example of an automatic right whereas patents and trade marks need to be registered with the UK Intellectual Property Office. Designs are unique. There are some design rights that can occur automatically but to gain the best protection of your design, it is best to register your right.

For more advice on what intellectual property is suitable for you, get in contact with Lawdit!

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