How Can You Protect Your Intellectual Property?

Brought to you by our friends at Vannin Capital PCC Ltd

Protecting your intellectual property is neither straightforward nor simple. In the UK alone, intellectual property falls into four categories based on its purpose and type: patents, trademarks, design rights, and patents.

These four categories each protect a different form of intellectual property. Patents, for example, are designed to protect new technologies from imitation or copying in order to protect their inventors from exploitation. Copyright, on the other hand, is designed to protect creative works from piracy or obvious imitation.

Since many inventions and artworks fall into several of these categories, people are often confused about how to best protect their intellectual property from theft and imitation.

Whether you’re a creative artist or an innovative engineer, the first step towards protecting your intellectual property from abuse or theft is the same: speak to an experienced, qualified intellectual property lawyer. They will be able to point you towards the right form of protection for your intellectual property.

Some forms of intellectual property are automatically protected under the law, as long as a few criteria are met. Some forms of art, for example, are protected under the laws of copyright if the artist carries out several steps to identify themselves as the creators of the artwork.

These include visually identifying the work as protected by copyright, publishing the year of creation, and listing the artist’s name. Artists need to identify themselves as the creators of a work before it becomes public to effectively prevent it against the threat of copying or imitation.

UK law provides a 70-year window of copyright protection beyond the end of the creator’s life. This provides a significant period of protection for artistic creations, protecting the rights of artists in Britain.

Other forms of intellectual property protection need to be applied for and registered in order to offer any real legal protection. Patents, for example, are only issued for a certain type of technological innovation. Inventions need to be non-existent – they cannot be a modification of an existing product or technology – and they need to be able to be developed, created, and used in some form.

Because of this, some inventions can’t be patented. Mathematical formulae, scientific breakthroughs, or abstract concepts can’t be patented. Non-physical inventions can be patented, as long as they can be created and used by people or machines, and are not just abstract concepts or ideas.

Some forms of intellectual property cannot be protected by copyright or patent. A design or expression that identifies a product, service, or business is protected as a trademark. Non-utilitarian visual designs are protected by design rights, which stop unauthorised copying and imitation from occurring.

Many inventions, designs, and creative works are protected by more than one form of intellectual property protection. A trademark and patent, for example, could both protect the same invention. Many consumer products are protected by several types of IP protection to discourage competitors from imitating their design, functionality, or operation.

This article was written by Vannin Capital. Visit their website to learn more about how litigation funding works.

 

February 10, 2014 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized