How do I protect my IP?
The four basic types of IP protection have been outlined in the section, ‘What is Intellectual Property’. None of these protection rights are mutually exclusive and more than one type of right can apply to your creation or product. Some forms of protection such as copyright and design right are automatically applied as soon as the work is created. Although there is no registration involved in these forms of protection, it is necessary to gather any evidence and create an audit trail that may help to prove that you are the creator and when the work was created. This is to insure yourself against any possible infringement case that could be brought against you or your business.
Patents, trademarks and registered designs have to be applied for and granted by the relevant Intellectual Property Office and have to be renewed to keep the rights in force. These rights are specific to the country in which they were applied for. When registering your creation you would need to consider in which geographic locations you would want protection. It may just be the UK or you may want to apply for protection in Europe or worldwide. It depends on the nature of the creation or product and your perceived market.
We would recommend marking your products or work as protected to discourage third parties from infringing your property.
The Business Library is part of a national network of intellectual property information centres known as Patlibs. There are thirteen Patlibs in total and the Library of Birmingham covers the whole of the Midlands region. We offer free, confidential, Intellectual Property advice sessions. These sessions are one hour in duration and can be booked by telephone on 0121 242 4242.
If you're just starting a business or are already established and have concerns about any aspect of intellectual property, give us a call on 0121 242 4242.