Legal Talk 6: What Can I Do Legally to Protect My Ideas?
It's the first day of Spring!
Things are moving fast for you, but you are a bit confused about this whole IP thing.
So, what is it about? I just have a few minutes, but here is a quick summary.
IP stands for intellectual property. Think of it as the law treating ideas as property. So, just like property, such as a house, you can sell IP, rent IP or get a mortgage against IP.
Every business is based around its ideas and hence its IP is really important. It therefore goes without saying that you really need to have some understanding of what IP is about.
The phrase ‘intellectual property’, is actually an umbrella term used to describe a lot of different rights. IP rights include patents, trade marks, design rights and copyrights to name but a few. The problem is that each different IP right has different rules that apply to it, so the whole thing can get very confusing. For example, patents generally provide protection for 20 years (with no renewal), whereas trade marks provide protection for 10 years (but can be renewed for subsequent 10 year periods indefinitely). Here's a further article I enjoyed to add to your growing knowledge: https://businessadvice.co.uk/business-development/business-planning/how-can-i-protect-a-new-business-idea-from-being-stolen/.
Let's just focus on trade marks for the time being. They are normally used to identify and protect your branding, for example, Sony, Nike and Amazon are good examples of trade marks. Sometimes the terms trade mark and brand are used interchangeably. Although when you speak with lawyers, they usually talk about trade marks because that is how these things are referred to in the law. The normal way of protecting your brand/trade mark is by registering a trade mark to help you protect your brand. The process for registering your trade mark (aka brand) is quite straight forward. Go to www.ipo.gov.uk for a really useful guide as to how to go about registering your trade mark/brand.
Do call me with any questions.
Your Legal Coach
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