You’ve heard people talk about protecting intellectual property, but do you know the value it can bring to you business if properly protected?
Before you are able to register your intellectual property (or IP) rights, the information that you have developed, for example, relating to a new invention, is known as know-how. There are probably going to be occasions when you will have to let third parties know some of your business secrets, such as if you are trying to obtain funding. An expert Intellectual Property Solicitor can draft up a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement that will make sure the other party is not able to divulge or use this knowledge. They will also act to enforce it if you think that there has been a confidentiality breach.
Your Intellectual Property Solicitor will advise you on your chances of success in applying for registration of a trademark at the Patent Office. There are many reasons why objections can be made and, in some cases, and many can be overcome by making minor adjustments to the trademark or adopting a slightly different approach in the application itself.
You might choose to allow a third party to use your trademark, for example if they are going to distribute or even manufacture products on your behalf – alternatively you may wish to realise the investment in your IP by selling your trademark.
Protection of your trademark, once registered, is equally as important as exploitation. If you have evidence of a third party using your trademark without authorisation, you should act as soon as possible to protect yourself.
Even if you do not have a registered trademark but have been trading for some time using a particular name or logo, it will have value as an unregistered trademark. In many situations, you will be able to stop third parties using your unregistered trademark, although this is much more complicated than protecting a trademark that you have registered.
You cannot register copyright in the UK, instead it automatically arises when the work is created – whether it is software, a database or design. An experienced Intellectual Property Solicitor can advise you on the protection of the copyright, which is particularly important when you have commissioned a third party to create the work.
Design rights are lesser known intellectual property rights and protect the special look of a product. If your design has been copied, you may need to take legal advice to act to prevent any further sales of the infringing products.
Any experienced Intellectual Property Solicitors will be able to give you advice on how to license and transfer patents, and will work closely with patent attorneys who are specialised in patent registration. Once you patent has been registered, you may wish to license it to a third party, who will then manufacture and sell your product. Remember that if your patent has been infringed by a third party, you will need to take prompt action to end the infringement and obtain appropriate compensation.
Above all don’t forget that the law surrounding intellectual property is complex. Be sure to consult experienced Intellectual Property Solicitors for legal advice as soon as possible.