Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.
For many businesses, intellectual property protects more than just an idea or a concept – it protects genuine business assets that may be integral to the core services of the business and overall long-term revenue and profitability. That’s why it is so important to protect your IP.
There are many ways to protect your IP, including the 5 key strategies that are documented below:
Protect your IP early
Registration takes time. It typically takes between 2 and 4 years to get a UK patent granted. However, under certain circumstances, it is possible to have your UK patent fast-tracked – reducing the waiting time to under a year.
Check that your IP idea is original
Use patent and trade mark searches early in the development of new products, logos and processes to establish whether someone else has got there first and protected them
Know what IP you’ve got
This sounds obvious, but ensure that you have a procedure in place to assess and account for your IP, from trade marks, copyrights and designs, to patents and domain names.
Guard against infringement
IP infringement has become easier with the growth of internet use and social networking. It happens more than you think – you post a blog or image online and someone else takes it and passes it off as their own. Copyright and ownership notices will do a lot to put them off, and make it easier to seek redress. Use search engines to check that no one is using your copy, logo or images without your permission.
Seek advice if you are unsure
For peace of mind, it is always beneficial to seek advice from an expert in the field.
Jolliffes are happy to help and can advise on a range of IP requirements. You can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.