Intellectual Property (IP) is at the heart of all technology companies. We explain why and how you should protect your IP.
In the UK, IP is protected by a complex, sometimes overlapping, set of laws that are derived from both UK and European law, as well as some international treaties.
Some IP rights, such as patents, registered trade marks and registered designs, require registration in order for a right to arise. Others, such as copyright, passing-off, confidential information and unregistered designs, arise automatically or with use.
Registered rights are generally much easier to identify and deal with since it is possible to check their existence, what they cover and their (ownership) by reference to the appropriate register. Unregistered rights are generally harder to identify, defend and exploit, but there is no need to register them by their very definition.
A company should be properly advised under English law as to how best to identify, protect and exploit its IP rights, as well as how to avoid infringing the rights of third parties. Failure to do so might not only mean that it has to rebrand or stop selling a particular product but might also impact on the intrinsic value of its business. Since IP laws vary across the world and there are a number of myths surrounding IP, specific advice should be sought on a case-by-case basis.