What you need to know about intellectual property (IP)
In this weeks industry insights we spoke with David Holdsworth (Deputy Chief Exec at the IP Office) about intellectual property – Is your IP protected? What even is IP?!
IP – or Intellectual Property – is the collective name for creative works, know-how and technological innovations. In the case of hospitality and retail businesses this might include your name, your logo and even your menu.
Your assets are what make your business unique, and they play a big part in how your customers recognise you and your brand. Protecting these assets is an important step for your business and offers you protection from those who may try to copy or imitate your brand, your menu or your designs.
There are four main types of IP protection rights which you need to consider for your business:
- Trademarks – Trademarks protects brands. This can be your business name or your logo, and can consist of a word, phrase, picture or a combination of all three. The shape of a product can also potentially be protected – for example the Bass Brewery red triangle is the oldest registered trademark in the UK.
- Copyright – Copyright protects written, dramatic, musical and artistic works including photos, recordings, web sites, photos, menus, brochures, software and databases.
- Patents – Patents protects new inventions; how they work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made. This might relate to a particular piece of equipment you have developed.
- Designs – Protecting your designs also protects the overall look of a product including the colour, shape, texture and material.
The IPO website has a useful section “IP for Business” which offers a range of free online tools including a simple audit which will help you to determine what should be protected and how. They also have a range of support materials including guides, templates and skeleton agreements, as well as a dedicated You Tube Channel to help you understand how to protect your business assets.
If you’re looking for more support in protecting your IP, The Liverpool Central library has a dedicated Business IP Centre which can provide a range of support including free trademark searching. Local business support in Liverpool can also be accessed via the Growth Hub, and if you need to speak to a professional, a validated list can be found by visiting the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) and Chartered institute of Trademark Attorneys (CITMA) web sites.
If you’re thinking of protecting your own business IP, check out the links below:
Online tools & resources for helping businesses make the most of their intellectual property
WEBINAR: Business Planning & Managing Your Hidden Value
WEBINAR: Building & Protecting Brands & Reputation
WEBINAR: Non-Disclosure Agreements
If you need any more info give us a call and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.