Advice On How To Protect Your Intellectual Property

by LitFunder on December 11, 2013

So you have composed that perfect song, invented that must-have kitchen tool or perhaps designed a new software programme. Of course you want to profit from these creations of your mind and intellect. However, protection of your intellectual property is no easy business. Indeed, it is a minefield of complex laws and practices. In today’s global economy the complexities are even more apparent. Now you are seeking protection not just in one national legislature, but internationally, where no one set of laws exist. US patents protection is different from European: bring in Asian and African markets and the differences and problems multiply. So how best can the advice be simplified , in order to protect your intellectual property rights?

Firstly, this advice will presume a UK base. Secondly, the advice will appertain to the individual. For companies, even the smallest businesses, the minefield of Intellectual Property protection is even more complex and definitely merits expert advice.

So, firstly for the individual UK resident, the first question to ask , is what type of Intellectual Property have you created? Essentially there are four distinct types: patents, copyright, trademarks and design rights. Tangible product-type inventions require the protection of a patent, whereas copyright protects artistic works, such as art, novels and musical compositions. Rules covering patent protection are complex; the best advice is to get the advice of an experienced I.P./Patents lawyer. It can take up to four years for a patent to be granted, which will usually provide protection for twenty years, but after four years annual renewal is required. Although copyright protection seems easier to establish since it is automatically there when you create something original, and need not be registered, there are further measures available  to secure it. These include marking the work with a copyright symbol , the copyright holder’s name and the year of creation. Moreover, copyright protection lasts for the rest of the creator’s life plus a further seventy years. Even better, a UK copyright is automatically valid in all countries who have signed the Berne Convention. The biggest hurdle though might be proving that the work was originally yours. Design Right is for a design that is unique and is an original physical shape. Proving design rights can be difficult, but a registered design will be better protected than an unregistered one. Finally, trademarks are things that make your brand recognisable, such as a unique logo; these need to be registered and will provide protection for ten years, but are renewable. Another way of protecting your Intellectual Property is to consider more than one type of protection. For example, an invention may be patented and its name registered as a trademark at the same time.

For all of the above professional advice at the outset can be a sound investment. Later disputes will be stressful and difficult to resolve. For those brave enough to go it alone, the best comprehensive advice is on the official government website.

This article was written by Vannin Capital. Visit their website to find out more about funding a legal case.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: