Four main types of Intellectual Property
Copyrights- an automatic protection – it doesn’t need registering. It safeguards original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works that result from intellectual effort or creative skill. You could copyright your website content, for example. Copyright exists as soon as something is written, but date of creation still needs to be proved in court.
Design rights- these protect the outward visual appearance of products which are sold on the basis of some “eye catchingl”. Protection can be for shape, decoration, colours, texture, etc. Design rights may be particularly important for businesses involved in manufacturing or selling consumer goods.
Trademarks – these protect marks and other trading symbols. Examples include signs which distinguish your business from other trading concerns, trade names, businesses logos and website domain names. You can register trademarks for maximum protection, but the law also protects unregistered trade names in certain circumstances.
Safeguarding your IP
If your business has precious intellectual property you can ask help for formal protection of it by registering particular intellectual property rights. This will allow you to avoid others from using your intellectual property without your permission and you will also be able to choose the people to whom who want to grant rights. Most IP rights need renewing regularly after they are registered to keep them in force. The protection processes may be time consuming and expensive but are necessary if intellectual property is important to your business.
Gaining business and financial benefits from your intellectual property
There are different ways in which you can make the most from your intellectual property:
You can use it yourself – to make unique products for your business
Authorizing– you can allow other people to use it, usually in return for payment such as royalties on the profits they make from using your IP. You can sell your IP to other people, e.g. a valuable design or patent, again in return for payment.