What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property (“IP”) is a collective term that describes a range of rights in intangible assets, including:
- Copyright: protects a wide range of creative works, for example photographs, words, music, art, logos and software, from being copied.
- Designs: protects the shape and appearance of goods such as bags, bottles and tablets, or in the surface design of materials, such as tartan and tile patterns.
- Trademarks: protects company names, logos, slogans and packaging. A trademark allows customers to identify a trusted manufacturer of a product.
- Patents: protects innovation, which was previously unknown. For example, Dyson’s bagless vacuum cleaner and Amazon’s Kindle.
- Trade Secrets: protects information of value that is a business secret and must remain confidential.
Your company name, brand and logo, together with the products, designs and inventions your business has created, carry a high proportion of your business’ value.
The only way to realise this value is to take action to protect these intangible assets immediately.
Commissioning Intellectual Property
If you do not take the right actions in relation to your ideas you could find that they become a third party’s intellectual property. It’s important to get professional IP help when commissioning works, otherwise:
- you may pay for the work but not actually own the rights you need in it.
- your logo would belong to the designer who created it.
- your website would not be yours to do with as you like.
- your idea for business software could become the IP of those who develop it.
For more information on how we can help protect your ideas when engaging others to create and develop IP for your business, see our Consultancy and Confidentiality services or contact us.