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Intellectual property – what is it and why is it so important?

Whether you’re an inventor, an author, a business tycoon or the owner of a small family business protection of your intellectual property is paramount.
What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property (IP) could be referred to as “creations of the mind”, for which exclusive ownership rights are recognised. These rights belong to a variety of intangible assets (assets that you can’t see), including inventions, phrases, symbols, music, works of art, and designs to name but a few. Some of the most common types of IP are copyright, trademarks, industrial design rights and patents. The term “Intellectual Property” is far reaching. However, most business owners only see IP as Patents or invention.

The importance of protecting intellectual property:

IP rights are valuable assets for your business – possibly among the most important it possesses. Businesses rarely value the IP or if when they do they do not understand the relationship between the value of terms such as ‘goodwill’ and IP.
Your IP rights can:

• set apart your business from its competitors
• provide revenue through licensing or sale
• offer customers something innovative and diverse
• form an important part of your promotion or branding
• be used as security for borrowing

What can be protected?

Amongst other things you can protect:

• Your business name
• logo
• designs
• inventions
• works of art
• works of intellectual effort
• trademarks

Only some IP is automatically protected by law; but there are other types of legal protection available. However, you must make the appropriate application to take advantage of the protection afforded by them.

It makes sense to do all you can to protect your business – this includes the IP. You can:

• protect it against encroachment by others and defend in the courts your sole right to use, make, sell or import it
• stop others using, making, selling or importing it without your permission
• earn revenue by licensing it
• exploit it through tactical associations with other businesses
• make money by selling it

What next?

Start by asking yourself: Why should others profit from my hard work?
The answer is obvious: They shouldn’t!
Ask further questions such as:
Who owns my website?
The company logo was designed by a third party – who owns the IP?
How do I protect my IP?

For answers to these questions and any other queries you may have we would be happy to help.

Please do not hesitate to contact Brendan O’Brien or Damian Pitts on 01992 558411 or brendan.obrien@breezeandwyles.co.uk or damian.pitts@breezeandwyles.co.uk

 

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