Intellectual property describes all forms of original creation made by a person or company which could be bought or sold. Intellectual property can be anything; a piece of computer software, music, a kitchen utensil, furniture, machinery or even your company handbook.
Your intellectual property can be protected in law by many methods, the most common being trademarks, patents, designs and copyright. The intellectual property protection method used is determined by what you have created.
A trademark is an exclusive way of identifying something which belongs to your business. Trademarks can be made up from words and logos and along with distinguishing your goods or services from those of other businesses, trademarks are a very good marketing tool or a way of branding your products or business.
The trademark doesn't necessarily need to describe or show your specific goods or services, but it is there to provide an identity for something which belongs to your company. By registering that trademark you protect your brand from being used by a competitor.
A patent allows you to protect the creation of processes that make something work; covering what it does, how it does something, the materials it may be made from and the manufacturing processes. A patent stops others copying and using your idea without your permission. A patent can protect your idea for up to 20 years.
A design (for the purposes of design registration) is defined as "the appearance of the whole or part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product or ornamentation. Your creation is therefore protected by the way it looks.
UK copyright law protects the following categories of work
Copyright protection arises automatically under UK law and lasts for the life of the author plus a further 70 years from the end of the calendar year of the author's death. The basis behind copyright is that it rewards authors for the creation of original works.
BRM Solicitors can provide you with advice on the methods of protecting intellectual property and how to make sure your intellectual property remains protected. If you suspect infringement of any of your intellectual property rights and protection, we can take action on your behalf to stop any such infringement.