Protect Your Creations

Sounds an arty inventive title, but it simply means Intellectual Property.

When you leave home and lock the door, you’re protecting your property. One locks the car doors for the same reason. You are preventing someone from taking things that belong to you. Protecting one’s personal property is second nature to most people. It’s just as important to protect your intellectual property.

In the U.K., anything that you write, make, produce or design is protected by law. Intellectual property rights can be bought and sold, have multiple owners and can apply to people and business.

There are five ways to ensure that your intellectual property is not stolen, copied or published without your permission, or plagiarized. Copyright protection is a given for anything you create by writing, recording, drawing or painting, photographing or filming. It also applies to databases, website content and computer software. Passing off happens often, and can be costly to legally contend the offender.

Though it isn’t necessary for copyright protection, it’s good form to mark your work with a copyright symbol, your name and when you created it.

The next method of protecting your intellectual property is applying for trademarks. When you come up with a name for a product or a logo or even a musical piece, you should immediately apply for a trademark. If possible, don’t share your creation with anyone until it is registered.

Let’s say you have invented a new product or machine. For this type of protection, you will need to apply for a patent. Applying for a patent will give you the documented proof you will need if someone infringes on your intellectual property rights. A good patent solicitor will ensure that the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed giving you bullet proof protection!

When it comes to design rights that deal with the shapes of objects, you have automatic protection for what you’ve created. For example, if you create a specialized font of type, it has immediate protection. You would need to apply to register designs if your work involved the appearance of a product. This applies to shape, packaging, patterns, colours and decorations. Design rights solicitors will advice you properly on the searches, filing and registering of design rights. 

Some of your intellectual property may have be shielded by more than one type of protection. Your invention may require, for example, a trademark for the name and logo. If it has a one-of-a-kind shape, it’s a registered design. You can patent something that you’ve created to enhance the original and copyright will cover your sketches of it. Find a Trademark Solicitor to help, as you need to search, file and register in the countries or regions that you require protection in. Once registered you are usually subjected to dozens of postal scams – letters claiming that you owe THEM the fee.

It’s important to remember that ideas are not considered intellectual property. There are millions of people who have millions of ideas. If you write it down, though, your words cannot be used. Creation is key.

About Jennifer Reed