Intellectual Properties

Intellectual property (IP) is a term referring to a number of distinct types of creations of the mind for which property rights are recognized--and the corresponding fields of law. Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Common types of intellectual property include copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and trade secrets in some jurisdictions.

These exclusive rights allow owners of intellectual property to benefit from the property they have created, providing a financial incentive for the creation of and investment in intellectual property, and, in case of patents, pay associated research and development costs.

Intellectual property rights are the recognition of a property in an individual creation. Intellectual property rights are usually limited to non-rival goods, that is, goods which can be used or enjoyed by many people simultaneously—the use by one person does not exclude use by another. This is compared to rival goods, such as clothing, which may only be used by one person at a time. For example, any number of people may make use of a mathematical formula simultaneously. Some objections to the term intellectual property are based on the argument that property can only properly be applied to rival goods. Since a non-rival good may be simultaneously used (copied, for example) by many people (produced with minimal marginal cost), monopolies over distribution and use of works are meant to give producers incentive to create further works. The establishment of intellectual property rights, therefore, represents a trade-off, to balance the interest of society in the creation of non-rival goods (by encouraging their production) with the problems of monopoly power. Since the trade-off and the relevant benefits and costs to society will depend on many factors that may be specific to each product and society, the optimum period of time during which the temporary monopoly rights should exist is unclear.

- Patents
Patents protect what makes things work - like what makes a wheel turn or the chemical formula of your favorite fizzy drink.
Patents protect the methods and processes that make things work. We can help you decide if a patent is the right type of protection for your invention.

-Trade marks
Trade marks are symbols that distinguish goods and services in the marketplace - like logos and brand names.

Designs are what something looks like - from the shape of a take-away cup to the body of jet.
Designs protect the physical appearance and visual appeal of products - from the shape of a take-away cup to the body of a jet.

Copyright is an automatic right which applies when the work is fixed, that is written or recorded in some way.
Copyright protects written, theatrical, musical and artistic works as well as film, book layouts, sound recordings, and broadcasts. Copyright is an automatic right, which means you don't have to apply for it.

Other protection
Intellectual Property (IP) covers a wide range of subjects and you may find that you can protect your idea by another right.

-Companies House
Companies House deals with the registration and provision of company information.

-Company Names Tribunal
The Tribunal adjudicates in disputes about opportunistic company name registrations.

-Conditional access technology
For encrypted broadcasts and transmissions, you may need authority to produce decoding apparatus and equipment.

-Copy protection devices
Copyright owners may choose to use technical measures to protect their material.

-Confidentiality agreements (CDAs)
CDAs (also known as non-disclosure agreements) can be used to protect know-how or trade secrets

-Database right
In addition to or instead of copyright protection, a database may be protected by the 'database right'. This is intended to protect and reward investment in the creation and arrangement of databases

-Design right
United Kingdom (UK) Design Right and Community Design Right may give automatic protection for the look of your product.

-Plant breeders rights
If you have created a new variety of plant or seed, you may be able to protect it at The Plant Variety Rights Office and Seeds Division in the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

-Publication right
Publication right gives you rights equivalent to copyright if you publish for the first time a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or a film in which copyright has expired.

-Protection abroad
If you want to protect your IP abroad you will generally need to apply for protection in the countries which you want your IP to have effect. Except particularly in the case of Copyright and other limited circumstances, your UK IP rights do not give you automatic protection abroad.

-Trade secrets
There is no legal requirement for you to file a patent, you could decide to keep your invention secret but if it enters the public domain then you may lose your rights to it.

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