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How to protect intellectual property in the UK

Intellectual property (IP) can have a big impact on business owners. It can make your offering unique and keep revenue rolling in.

It is the ideas and hard work of businesses and individuals. In the UK, there are different ways to protect IP. This article will tell you about them.

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property is a legal term that refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.

Intellectual property is divided into two categories: industrial property, which includes inventions (patents) and trademarks; and copyright, which includes literary and artistic works (such as books, movies, music, and paintings) and other intellectual creations. The term “intellectual property” was first used in 1769 by British jurist William Blackstone. In the 18th century, intellectual property was considered a common-law right, but it was not until the 19th century that intellectual property began to be regulated by national laws. The first modern intellectual property law was the French Code de la Propriete Intellectuelle of 1844.

The United Kingdom followed with the passage of the Copyright Act of 1842. The United States enacted its first federal copyright law in 1790 and its first patent law in 1793. Since then, most countries have enacted laws governing intellectual property rights. Intellectual property rights are generally categorized as Either copyrights or patents. A copyright is aright to copy (or authorize others to copy) a work of authorship; a patent is agrant of the exclusive right to make, use or sell an invention. In some jurisdictions trade secrets also form part of intellectual property.

Patents give an inventor exclusive commercial exploitation rights for a limited period in return for disclosure of the invention so that others may make improvements later. After this limited period expires anyone can commercially exploit the invention without permission from the inventor. So while it’s important to respect other people’s intellectual property it’s also important that you understand your own intellectual property rights too.

For help with intellectual property see Commercial law firm Crest Legal.

What counts as intellectual property?

When you think of intellectual property, you might initially think of works such as books, music, or art. These are certainly examples of intellectual property, but they are not the only kinds of intellectual property that exist. In fact, anything that is created by someone’s mind can be considered intellectual property. This includes inventions, designs, logos, and even certain kinds of unpatented information. As long as the creator can prove that they are the rightful owner of the intellectual property, they are entitled to certain legal protections. For instance, creators have the right to control how their work is used and to profit from its use. However, they may also choose to allow others to use their work for free. Ultimately, it is up to the creator to decide what counts as their intellectual property.

Owning intellectual property

Intellectual property can be a very valuable thing. In order to own intellectual property, you must either be the inventor or creator of it. You can also co-own intellectual property with another person or group of people. Additionally, businesses can own intellectual property. Finally, you can sell or transfer ownership of your intellectual property. By taking these steps, you will be well on your way to owning your very valuable intellectual property.

There are different kinds of intellectual property protection

IP protection is incredibly important for businesses and individuals who have invested time and resources into developing new products and ideas. There are several different types of IP protection that can be used to safeguard your work, including automatic protection, patents, designs, trademarks, and sometimes a combination of several different types of protection. Automatic protection is available for certain types of work, such as literary or artistic works, which are automatically protected by copyright law. Patents provide protection for inventions, while designs protect the appearance of products. Trademarks safeguard brand names, logos, and other distinctive signs. Using a combination of different types of IP protection can often be the most effective way of safeguarding your work from infringement.

Automatic IP protection

There are a number of ways to protect your intellectual property (IP), and one of the most straightforward is to take advantage of automatic IP protection. This type of protection is offered by both copyright and trademark law, and can help you to safeguard your creations from unauthorized use.

Perhaps the most well-known form of automatic IP protection is copyright. Copyright law protects original works of authorship, such as films, songs, and software. In order to enjoy this protection, you don’t need to do anything special – simply creating the work is enough. Automatic IP protection can also be found in trademark law.

This type of protection applies to registered trademarks, and can help you to stop others from using your trademarked material without permission. If you’re looking for a simple way to protect your IP, then taking advantage of automatic protection is a great option.


A trademark is a sign that distinguishes your goods or services from those of other traders. You can apply for a trademark by applying to the UK Intellectual Property Office online. It will take about four months to register a trademark.

Once you have registered your trademark, you can use the ® symbol to show that it is registered.

You can also use other forms of protection such as trade dress and service marks. Trade dress is the overall appearance of your product, including its packaging, labeling, and design. Service marks are used to distinguish services from each other.

You should be aware that trademarks do not always last forever. Trademarks must be renewed after every 10 years. You are allowed to renew the trademark six months before or after the expiration of the 10 years. If you do not renew your trademark, it will become unregistered and you will no longer have exclusive rights to use it.

Registered designs

Designs can be a powerful form of intellectual property, giving their owner the exclusive right to use them for up to 25 years. If you have an original design that you believe has commercial value, you may wish to consider registering it with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). Doing so will give you legal protection against anyone who attempts to copy or sell your design without your permission. To be eligible for registration, your design must be new and not already in the public domain. It must also have specific characteristics or features that make it different from any other design. If your design meets these criteria, you can apply for registration online or by post. Once granted, your registered design will give you significant control over how it is used and produced, giving you the peace of mind that your creative work is properly protected.


A patent is a legal document issued to grant an inventor exclusivity for up to 20 years.

The purpose of a patent is twofold; firstly it incentivises invention by providing inventors with some protection against being copied. Secondly; they prevent others from using patented ideas without seeking permission from the person who invented them. The only requirement for a patent application is that any new idea should be able to be explained in words or drawings, as this allows other people to understand what has been patented.

Trade secrets

While many people think of trade secrets as things like formulas or recipes, the truth is that they can be much more than that. In fact, any valuable information that would cause harm if it became publicly known before an organization was ready for this to happen can be classified as a trade secret. This could include business strategies and plans, research data not yet made public, and more. In order to qualify as a trade secret, the information in question must meet three criteria: it must be secret, the owner must have taken reasonable steps to protect it, and there must be commercial value in keeping it confidential. When all of these boxes are ticked, trade secret law can provide a powerful tool for companies looking to safeguard their most valuable information.

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