Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (“IP”) is an umbrella term that describes a range of rights in intangible assets, such as:

        • Copyright: in various works, such as photographs, words, music, logos, and software.
        • Designs: rights in the shape of goods such as ipads, or bottles, or in the surface design of materials such as wallpaper.
        • Trademarks: rights in packaging, names, slogans and logos.
    • Patents: over an innovation which was previously unknown, such as the bagless Dyson vacuum cleaner.

All IP rights are territorial, which means you are protected in the countries in which you register them. For IP rights that arise automatically, such as copyright, there may be useful measures you might take in other countries to better protect your assets. Find out more about the different Intellectual Property Rights.

Is it your intellectual property?

Some important questions about IP are:

  • What type of IP is it?
  • How should you protect it so it can be yours?
  • What should you do to turn your idea into IP that you can own?
  • Is it essential to keep your idea secret so you can own valuable IP?
  • Are you infringing on other people’s Intellectual Property?

Commissioning Intellectual Property

If you do not take the right actions in relation to your ideas you could find it becomes someone else’s intellectual property. It’s important to get IP help when commissioning works, otherwise:

  • your logo would belong to the designer who created it.
  • your website would not be yours to do with as you like
  • you may pay for the work but not own the rights you need in it.
  • your idea for business software could become the IP of those who develop it

Importance of not infringing on other people’s intellectual property

Sometimes it will be other people’s intellectual property rights which impact you. Your web developer’s rights over your website, copyright in material you want to use, or confidential information you obtain from someone else.

What next?

For further help call us on +44 (0) 20 7700 1414.