Intellectual Property Law Overview
Trade marks, copyright and designs are three of the key rights of intellectual property. For many companies, their intellectual property is a significant asset and holds much of what makes the business unique and valuable.
Every company has at least one trade mark: the trading name. However, a trade mark may also be the product name, logo, slogans and even colours and sounds. While the rights of a trade mark may arise from significant use over time, the fastest and most certain way to obtain trade mark rights is from a trade mark registration.
Copyright automatically exists in anything you create, if it is expressed and not just an idea. For example, a photograph, painting, sound recording, story, design, film and other similar expressions of creativity are all copyright works. While ownership of them automatically vest in its creator, there are exceptions, such as when you create something in employment. Copyright is widely infringed, so the enforcement of it is a particularly important aspect to this type of intellectual property.
Design rights in the UK are different to those in the EU. While the UK right protects the shape and configuration of the design, it does not protect the surface decoration. However, the EU allows for protection of the entire appearance.
As with copyright, the ownership of a design is automatically given to its creator, however, as with trademarks, those rights are far more certain if registered.
As well as expertise in obtaining intellectual property protection, we also regularly advise and represent clients in intellectual property disputes.