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Patent/IP in United Kingdom

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Patent/IP in United Kingdom

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Intellectual Property in the UK

Intellectual Property, or IP, as it is colloquially called, is characterised as legal protection for commercially precious products of human intellect. There are, generally, three forms of IP: patents, copyrights and trademarks. Although these articles are similar many some ways, they each have individual idiosyncrasies and definitions which make them unique. Perhaps most importantly, there is no physicality to intellectual property. If effectively safeguards an intangible idea or process.

Patents

Generally speaking, patents are granted to inventors for inventions. These can include anything from machinery, tools, processes, chemicals, biotechnology, software, etc.

To qualify for a patent, an inventor must invariably create something that is:

 

  • Of patentable matter
  • Unique to patentee
  • Merited and can be utilised
  • Innovative
  • Non-obvious.

 

Under a patent, the patentee reserves the right to stop or limit others from utilising and trading the invention. Without explicit permission from the patentee, persons using the patent in any of these ways are infringing, and could be subjected to legal action.

Computer programmes and inventions without industrial application are not patentable. Nor are inventions that conflict with public order or morals. Even while a patent is pending, application fees are still payable, as well as search fees and annuities.

As registration is invariably a lengthy procedure. An inventor may, instead, favour applying for a certificate of usefulness, which is easier to acquire, although provides less protection: 6 years compared with 20. Patents may not be renewed.

Trademarks

Trademarks are used to denote epithets, logos, symbols, slogans, etc, that are individual to a business and product. Fundamentally, the things that distinguish your product or service from a competitor's. Businesses understandably go to endless lengths to have control over their trademarks. Therefore, any persons found infringing upon them through unlawful use could be subject to legal action.

Famous examples of trademarks are Coca Cola and McDonald's.

Copyright

Copyright gives someone to sell and reproduce a protected product, which is invariably printed work. Things like books, magazines, websites, photographs, music, film and art are common examples of copyrighted work. Copyright denotes five rights of the author, artist, etc: reproduction, distribution, adaptation, performance and display. Use of such materials or works without the explicit permission of the copyright holder is classed as infringement, and persons doing so could be subject to legal action.

For more information, contact the UK's intellectual property office or visit the website.

Intellectual Property Office

Concept House

Cardiff Road

Newport

South Wales, UK, NP10 8QQ

Telephone: (Outside the UK) +44 (0)1633 814000

Minicom (text phone): 08459 222 250

Fax: +44 (0)1633 817777

Email: enquiries@ipo.gov.uk

The office is open from 9am to 5pm (UK time), Monday to Friday.

Click here to Ask an Expert about Patent/IP in United Kingdom

Organisations that can assist with Patent/IP

  • > Nominus.com

    When expanding your business to the UK, donít forget to protect your brand. We provide Trademark Registration Services in the UK and in the entire European Union.

    More Details Visit Website

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