Rule 1: Treat IP as you would a valuable business asset
Treat any intellectual property belonging to your business the same as you would land, machinery and stock. Think about your company website and/or promotional material, these are forms of IP which are extremely valuable to your business.
Rule 2: Know how to identify different types of IP
There are 4 major types of intellectual property:
- Copyright – copyright is an automatic IP right, whichrevents others from copying your permanent work. Permanent work is that which is normally written or printed.
- Patents – you can apply for a patent over an idea or invention, which can be used in a particular industry.
- Trademarks – you can get trade mark protection over a logo or brand name.
- Design rights – you can apply for a registered design number, which is an individual tag on your design. This registration is effective over a specific geographical area.
Rule 3: Protect your IP
If you display your IP as being protected, it will deter potential IP crime. Here are some examples on how to do this:
- Copyright – use the copyright symbol © to highlight work which is protected.
- Patents – depending what stage you are at, advertise your idea or invention as ‘patent applied for’, ‘patent pending’ or ‘patented’.
- Trade Marks – use the registered trade mark symbol ® or use the initials TM if the trade mark is non registered.
- Designs – show the design’s registered design number in this format: Reg Des: 1234567.
Rule 4: Prepare when faced with an IP dispute
In order to prepare for an IP dispute you should do the following:
- Identify what type of IP right is being challenged
- Assess who has ownership rights over the IP
- Check the legality and status of the IP right
- Consider what defence or counterclaim your opposition may bring against you
- Think about your financial situation and whether or not you can afford to embark upon litigation
- Think about the financial situation of the defendant; are they able to bring a case through litigation
- Gather evidence surrounding the IP right
- Think about using alternative dispute resolution to resolve the matter in a more amicable and cheap manner
Rule 5: Respect IP Rights belonging to others
By using facilities such as the European Patents Office, which has an online search resource for patented objects, you can avoid the risk of using another’s IP without permission.
If you are still unsure to whether or not you can use an idea or product and do not want to risk liability, then contact your IP solicitor for further help and advice.
Rule 6: Utilise profitable IP rights
Plan to develop any intellectual property rights already belonging to your business. Use communication to gather information about the performance of your IP. Treat the IP as you would any other asset for business development.
IP rights are also a medium of trade as well as protection. As the owner of IP you have the ability to assign or issue a licence over its rights. In doing this, your IP could potentially be very profitable.
Rule 7: Utilise legal advice
Seeking advice from an experienced intellectual property solicitor can be a useful resource for your business. IP is a complex and consistently changing area of law. Legal advice will help you ensure that you remain sufficiently protected against infringement. Not only this but experienced solicitors can help advise you and draft profitable IP assignments and licences.
Contact our intellectual property solicitors
We help clients managing their intellectual property throughout Wiltshire, Hampshire, Somerset, Dorset and throughout the UK. Our Intellectual Property Solicitors can see you in our Salisbury, Andover or Amesbury offices or we can advise and represent you on the basis of phone and e-mail instructions nationwide without needing to meet.