Assistance with intellectual property protection

Assistance with intellectual property protection

Intellectual property (IP) protection can be an important part of ensuring your business’ success, so it’s essential that you get it right. Mistakes can be time-consuming and expensive. They can even result in your business’ failure. IP protection is a complex legal area and getting help is often sensible. Sources of IP law The . Find your trade association on the Trade Association Forum website – Opens in a new window. The . Contact the…

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Can I get a patent?

Can I get a patent?

What is a patent? A patent is an intellectual property right, which is a right given to individuals over the creation of their minds. It protects new inventions within a certain geographical area for a limited period of time. Patent rights make it against the law for any individual except the owner or an authorised individual to make, use, import or sell the invention in the country where the patent is granted. All other individuals…

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Contractors and copyright

Contractors and copyright

If one of your employees creates an original work while working for you, the copyright will normally belong to your business. If you use contractors, the situation will be different as the law says that the creator (in this case the contractor) is the first owner of the copyright in a work. Therefore, unless you specify otherwise in a contract, it is likely that the contractor who creates original works for you will own the…

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Copyright protection

Copyright protection

If your business creates original works, copyright protection could be an important part of ensuring its success. It might be essential to enforce your rights if a rival with a similar product or service copies your instruction manual or welcome pack for instance. If you think your copyright is being infringed, you are advised to first seek legal advice from a specialist who may discuss with you a first step of sending a carefully worded…

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Copyright protection overseas

Copyright protection overseas

Your copyright on original literary, artistic, musical and dramatic work is protected under the national law in the vast majority of countries worldwide. This is the result of a number of international treaties signed by the UK and administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Find information on intellectual property protection overseas on the WIPO website – Opens in a new window. Copyright protection for written, theatrical, musical and artistic works in the UK, European Union and US…

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Database right protection

Database right protection

A database may be protected by database right as well as copyright. A database is defined as a collection of independent works, data or other materials which are: arranged in a systematic or methodical way individually accessible by electronic or other means A literary work consisting of a database is original if, and only if, by reason of the selection or arrangement of the contents of the database, the database constitutes the author’s own intellectual…

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Defend your design against infringement

Defend your design against infringement

Your designs are likely to be an important part of your business’ success. You’ll probably want to take action against anyone who makes, offers, puts on the market, imports or exports the design, or stocks the product without your permission. If your design is registered If you think your design is being infringed, send a carefully-worded warning letter to the potential offender. They may be genuinely unaware of the infringement or they might stop when…

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Defend your patent

Defend your patent

If you think someone is infringing your patent, you should seek legal advice on how to proceed. It’s possible that a to the potential offender could be enough to rectify the problem and this may even lead to a mutually beneficial licensing arrangement. If this doesn’t work, you have the right to to defend your patent. The courts can grant injunctions to stop infringement and award damages which can be substantial. Action is through civil law…

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Get legal help on intellectual property

Get legal help on intellectual property

If you’re working on an original invention and have established that nobody else has developed or is developing something similar, you need to consider how you will protect your intellectual property. You may want to seek a patent or a registered design to keep competitors at bay. But this may not always be the best route – sometimes it could be better to keep quiet about your invention or delay your application. For the advantages…

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Get support from other inventors

Get support from other inventors

Being a small-scale inventor can be a solitary business and bringing your ideas to fruition can be frustrating and sometimes painfully slow. It can be useful to network with other inventors to share ideas, advice, knowledge and opinions on innovation. Ideas21 is a fast-growing network of people interested in innovation. They meet monthly at the Intellectual Property Office in London – non-members are also welcome. Members receive regular email newsletters with updates on the latest…

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Getting legal protection for your intellectual property

Getting legal protection for your intellectual property

There are four main ways in which the law provides protection for your intellectual property. Patents Patents protect your inventions for a set period. You must apply to the Intellectual Property Office for a patent. See our guide on how to get patent protection for your business. You can only patent an invention if no one has done so before you. To see if there is an existing patent you need to carry out a…

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Help in establishing your inventions originality

Help in establishing your inventions originality

You can’t call your idea an invention unless you can prove it is original. If it isn’t, its commercial potential is likely to be limited. To establish the originality of an invention, you need to carry out searches to assess whether there are any patents or other forms of intellectual property – such as registered designs – that cover it. There may already be rights covering the invention itself, any components that form part of…

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Heres how I deal with trade mark infringements

Heres how I deal with trade mark infringements

Actinic Software Limited is the UK market leader in e-commerce software for small to medium-sized enterprises. The success of its award-winning products has inevitably led to unauthorised use of the company’s trade marks. Co-founder and chief executive Chris Barling explains the measures used to deal with infringements. Get good advice “We began looking at trade marks two years after starting up, when the company really started to grow. We used a specialist agent to advise…

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Heres how I got support for my invention

Heres how I got support for my invention

Glenn Melvin had the idea for his energy-saving invention, a new insulating plaster called Wall Reform, while studying for an HND in Building. Glenn describes how he got support and advice to get his idea off the ground and into full commercial production. Research support options “My HND course included a module on environmental awareness. One of the things I learnt was that heat loss through single-thickness walls is one of the biggest contributors to…

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Heres how I registered and used my patent

Heres how I registered and used my patent

After developing an innovative polyethylene zip with teeth, entrepreneur Heather Kitching set about exploiting her idea. But first she had to protect her design – and so began the process of securing a patent. Heather’s hard work paid off – her idea is now used in a range of well-known packaging products and has scooped several high-profile awards. Understand your intended market “In 1996 I invented the concept of the world’s first polyethylene weldable zip…

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Heres how I use NDAs in my business

Heres how I use NDAs in my business

The Anglesey Sea Salt Company produces Halen Mon sea salt from the pure waters of the Atlantic just off Anglesey, North Wales. Director David Lea-Wilson describes how the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) enables the company to share sensitive information with suppliers and customers. Recognise the need for protection “Our sea salt is highly regarded for its purity, crunchy texture and distinctive taste. A key factor is the exceptional cleanliness of the seawater we use,…

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How design right and registration can help your business

How design right and registration can help your business

Design right and registered designs protect the original designs you use in your business. It’s worth protecting your designs because they can be an important asset and play a key role in the success of your business. They can distinguish your goods from those of competitors, be a significant selling point and form an essential part of your business’ branding. Your registered designs can also be worth money. Instead of exploiting them yourself, you can license…

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How do I get copyright protection for my work?

How do I get copyright protection for my work?

Copyright is an right in the UK (and much of the rest of the world). Unlike most other intellectual property rights, you don’t have to apply for copyright and there’s no register of copyright holders. It’s a good idea to mark your work with the © followed by your name and the year of creation. This will identify you as the owner of the copyright which will make it easier for a potential user to…

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How does intellectual property law affect me?

How does intellectual property law affect me?

Intellectual property is a form of original creation by an individual or company and that individual or company therefore has the right to sell it as it becomes, in essence, their property. It can affect you in many ways because if you come up with an original creation you will want it to be protected so that either only you can benefit from it or you can sell it and make profit. It will also…

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How to apply for a patent

How to apply for a patent

Applying for a patent can be a lengthy process and any mistakes in your application will slow things down further. Errors can also prove expensive and might mean you fail to get a patent or that the patent you obtain fails to give you broad enough protection. It is therefore advisable to seek professional advice from a patent attorney. Search the register of patent attorneys on the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) website –…

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How to register a trade mark

How to register a trade mark

To register a trade mark in the UK you have to apply to the Intellectual Property Office. You can complete form TM3 online or submit a paper form TM3 and send it with the appropriate fee and fee sheet to the Intellectual Property Office Trade Marks Registry. Discounts are available to those who apply online and pay the appropriate fee at the time of filing their application. Apply to register your trade mark with the…

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Intellectual property and freelance contractors

Intellectual property and freelance contractors

You should take steps to ensure your business owns any intellectual property (IP) rights in work created for you by freelance contractors. You have an implied legal right to use IP rights in work you have commissioned from freelance contractors for the purpose it was originally intended for. However, unless you take steps to assign the IP rights to your business you will neither own them nor be able to make additional use of them….

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Intellectual property rights and your employees

Intellectual property rights and your employees

It’s likely that your employees will create work that carries intellectual property (IP) rights. This does not just apply to those who are developing inventions in a research and development department. Staff could also be creating potentially valuable IP if, for example, they’re compiling databases, writing marketing material or producing training brochures. The good news is that rights to IP created by employees generally belong to the employer. Showing that a member of staff has…

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Key differences between design right and design registration

Key differences between design right and design registration

Design right Registered design Applies only to three-dimensional articles – except for Unregistered Community Designs (UCD) which also apply to two-dimensional articles Applies to both two- and three-dimensional articles Covers the shape and configuration of products, internal and external – UCDs cover the whole product Covers the appearance of a product, resulting particularly from its lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and materials or its ornamentation Automatic right You must pay to register a design at the…

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License your patent

License your patent

If you have a patent you don’t have to exploit it yourself. You can also make money by to exploit it. This gives them the legal right to manufacture, use, sell or import your patented invention. Licensing a patent can be an important source of revenue for your business. Some businesses exist solely to collect the royalties from a patent they’ve licensed. Some products can be protected and then licensed with a combination of a…

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Prevent intellectual property infringement

Prevent intellectual property infringement

If your ideas get into the wrong hands before you have taken action to protect them, you could find your intellectual property (IP) rights seriously compromised – or even lose them entirely. It’s therefore very important that all your business’ material in which there are IP rights is kept secure. This is essential before IP protection has been applied for – or registered – as any disclosure could jeopardise your claim to originality. For certain…

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Protecting your business name and domain name

Protecting your business name and domain name

Your business name is the most basic intellectual property asset you have. It could also be the most important. Your business’ reputation is tied up with its name so you don’t want somebody else trading on it. If the name of your business is distinctive to the goods and services you provide, you may be able to take legal action against anyone using it in the same or a similar field. You will get additional…

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Register your trade mark overseas

Register your trade mark overseas

If you want your trade mark to beprotected overseas you usually have to make applications to each of the separate countries in which yourequire protection. But there are to this which can make the application process easier and cheaper for you. Applying for European Union-wide protection You can apply for a registered trade mark in each of the separate countries of the European Union (EU) but it can simplify matters to apply for a ….

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Respect other peoples designs

Respect other peoples designs

If you make, sell, import or use articles that infringe someone else’s design right or registered design, it can cause serious damage to your business. It may result in legal action being taken against you and you could be ordered to pay considerable costs and damages to the person whose designs you have infringed – even if you haven’t intentionally copied them. It is good business sense to check that any design you intend to use as part…

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Respect other peoples patents

Respect other peoples patents

A patent holder has the right to take against you if you make, use, import or sell a product employing their invention without . Before manufacturing or importing a product, or implementing an industrial process, it’s a good idea to carry out a freedom-to-operate-patent search to check you’re not infringing someone else’s patent or registered design. Carrying out a patent search You can start by looking through specialist or trade magazines or any other relevant…

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Respect other peoples trade marks

Respect other peoples trade marks

If you’re thinking of selling goods or services using a trade mark you should . The penalties for using somebody else’s trade mark without their permission, intentionally or not, can be severe. If somebody has already registered a trade mark you’re using, or one similar to it, you could find yourself being sued for infringement. You could end up being subject to a restraining order as well as being ordered to pay considerable damages and…

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Should I get a patent for my invention?

Should I get a patent for my invention?

Should I get a patent for my invention? Patents can seem mysterious and confusing to the uninitiated, however they play a vital role in the economy. They are the principle protection for income generation from many of the worlds most well known, and less well known, innovations and inventions. Put simply, a patent is a legal right granted by the UK Intellectual Property Office to protect a new invention. The purpose of a patent is…

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Take your invention to market

Take your invention to market

There are three main ways of getting your invention to market: licensing producing and selling it yourself collaborating with another business or with a university You could also decide to sell your invention outright. This will give you a one-off payment but will not generate any long-term income. When you license the use of your intellectual property, you sell the rights either to an individual or group of individuals, or to a company. They will…

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Trade marks and domain names

Trade marks and domain names

If you have got a trade mark it might also make business sense to register a domain name incorporating that trade mark or business name as your website address (domain name) – for example, www.mycompany.co.uk. Registering a domain name incorporating your trade mark as a website address could mean people searching the internet find you with greater ease and it could help strengthen your branding. However, having a trade mark doesn’t give you an automatic…

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Types of non-disclosure agreement

Types of non-disclosure agreement

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a   between you and another party not to disclose information you have shared for a specific purpose. This allows businesses to approach potential partners, suppliers, consultants and customers with their idea, knowing that the other party is legally forbidden to pass on that information. These agreements can be to your requirements. They can be used to: share intellectual property share commercial or trading information formalise a relationship, eg between…

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Ways to prepare a non-disclosure agreement

Ways to prepare a non-disclosure agreement

Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) templates can be bought , allowing you to adjust them for your needs. This is inexpensive and the template can be reused. You can: Buy an NDA from the CompactLaw website – Opens in a new window. There are many other websites that offer similar services. Download an example of an agreement from the Intellectual Property Office website (PDF, 391K) – Opens in a new window. If you are dealing with a…

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What are the repercussions of breach of copyright?

What are the repercussions of breach of copyright?

When does copyright arise? To be protected by copyright, the work must be ‘original’, in the sense that the author can prove that they used their skill, judgement and creativity to produce it. In addition, the work must have a physical presence. Only the expression of an idea – on paper, for example – is protected by copyright, not the idea itself. What does copyright protect? The Copyright Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) 1988 creates…

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What does copyright cover?

What does copyright cover?

If your business produces any of the following, they will automatically be protected by copyright once they are ‘fixed’ in some way, eg written or recorded: literary works, including books, webpages, computer programs and instruction manuals dramatic and musical works, including the music to songs artistic works, including technical drawings, photographs, diagrams and maps films, videos and broadcasts, including those on cable and satellite sound recordings databases, whether paper or electronic typographical arrangement or layout…

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What is a non-disclosure agreement?

What is a non-disclosure agreement?

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a  , is a low-cost way to protect your business’ ideas. An NDA is a legal contract between you and another party. Typically, you agree to disclose information to them for a specific purpose, while they agree not to disclose that information to anyone else. This allows you to share your trade secrets with business partners while preventing them from passing this information on. For example, you may…

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What is a patent?

What is a patent?

If you invent something that you believe to be unique and commercially viable, you will probably want to consider applying for a patent to protect your right to its use. A patent will give you the right to prevent others from manufacturing, importing, using or selling your invention without your permission for a set period of time in the country or countries in which you hold that patent. As the holder of a patent, you…

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What is design right?

What is design right?

Design right is – ie you don’t have to apply for registration. It protects the design of the shape and configuration of articles or parts of articles in the UK for a maximum of 15 years. There is also a European Union (EU)-wide unregistered design right, which protects the shape, configuration, pattern and ornamentation of an object for a maximum of three years. Your design can only be protected by design right, if the design…

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Where does my patent apply?

Where does my patent apply?

Patents are and can only be enforced in the areas for which they’re granted. A successful application for a UK patent only gives you protection in the UK. To stop the exploitation of your invention outside the UK you need to file for patents in the countries where you want protection. Find links to intellectual property offices worldwide on the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website – Opens in a new window. Although in some…

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