We deliver IP workshops, run one-to-one IP surgery appointments and answer questions via email. We do like a bit of “IP banter” – upon hearing about an astronaut performing a David Bowie song from the International Space Station, most people would ask: “Ooh, I wonder which song?” but we’re the kind of people who go: “Huh, I wonder how copyright works in space?”
Why IP and business
You don’t have to be a fancy tech company, a big film studio or a super-trendy designer to use and create IP. If you have a business name and a website, that’s it: you are already using two types of IP.
Every business “deals in” intellectual property.
When you are starting or running a business, it’s likely intellectual property won’t be the first thing on your mind. But it’s the kind of thing that could get you into trouble if you never consider it.
We recommend you look at IP from the following angles:
- avoid infringing other people’s IP rights;
- be aware of what IP you own;
- take steps to protect your IP assets.
What’s IP exactly
The UK Intellectual Property Office describe IP as “something that you create using your mind – for example, a story, an invention, an artistic work or a symbol.”
When you own IP rights you control how that creation may be used – usually, that means you can stop others from using it for themselves.
There are four main types of intellectual property: copyright, trade marks, designs and patents. They each protect something different but they can also co-exist within the same product or service. For example, your business logo will have both copyright and trade mark rights within it.
Copyright applies to original creative works. That includes texts, images, videos, audio and even computer code.
Trade marks protect elements of a brand, e.g., your business name, your logo, your tagline…
Designs protect the appearance of a product: that could be its shape, a texture or a pattern.
Patents protect a new way of doing something. It’s often associated with inventions but it can cover small improvements to existing products and processes.
How we can help you
We can help you:
- ascertain how IP applies to what you do;
- understand the different types of IP;
- take action to avoid future IP infringement;
- get started with using IP protection.
We can discuss all this in one of our IP surgeries, show you how to search IP registers and explain the application process to obtain registered IP protection.
We will also point you to relevant information, such as our own guides and timelines for different types of IP registration (download PDF versions of our guides below).