Five things you should know about intellectual property
3rd December, 2012
Registration of a trade mark
A trade mark is a brand name or an indication of the trade origins of goods or services. Trade marks can be registered or unregistered; however registered trade marks benefit from greater protection. Registering your trade mark grants you rights to defend your registered trade mark from infringers.
Automatic protection by passing off
Passing off is the right to protect your goodwill where one business attempts to benefit from your reputation by imitating your goods or logos. You do not need to register your logo/brand to benefit passing off and it lasts indefinitely. However, in order to bring a claim for passing off there must be;
1) goodwill in your business,
2) misrepresentation by another business which leads to confusion of your customers or potential customers and
3) damage to your business.
Automatic protection from breach of copyright
Copyright is a right to prevent copying of your ‘creative expressions’. Numerous creative expressions are protected by copyright including; writing, art, music, architecture, film and computer software. You do not have to register a copyright to benefit from its protection. Copyright protection comes into effect ‘before the ink is dry on the paper’ and normally lasts 70 years from the death of the creator of the creative expression.
Registering a Patent
A patent is a protection for a new invention which lasts for 20 years. You must register your patent at the Patents Office. When a patent is registered the description of the invention is made public in return for a period of protection of 20 years. When the 20 year period has expired, anyone can use your invention and benefit from it.
Registration of Design
You can register the new design of a product and it will be protected for a period of 25 years. You cannot, however, register a design that relates to a product’s technical function. Some of your designs may be protected even if they are not registered; designs of the shape or configuration of articles which are intended to be used commercially are automatically protected for between 10 and 15 years.
For more information on registering a trade mark, or any other Intellectual Property issue, contact David Harries on 01244 405527 or email him at [email protected].
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