Intellectual property and your work

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Protect your intellectual property

Protecting your intellectual property makes it easier to take legal action against anyone who steals or copies it.

There are different types of protection depending on what you’ve created.

Type of protection Intellectual property it covers Time to allow for application
Registering a trade mark Product names, logos, jingles 4 months
Registering a design Appearance of a product, including its shape, packaging, patterns, decoration 3 weeks
Copyrighting your work Writing and literary works, art, photography, films, TV, music, web content No application needed
Patenting an invention Inventions and products, for example machines, medicines Around 5 years

You get limited automatic protection over some intellectual property, for example design right. However, it’s easier to prove you own intellectual property legally if it is registered.

Keep your intellectual property secret until it’s registered. If you need to discuss your idea with someone, use a non-disclosure agreement.

Using more than one type of protection

More than one type of protection could be linked to a single product, for example, you could:

  • register the name and logo as a trade mark
  • protect a product’s unique shape as a registered design
  • patent a completely new working part
  • use copyright to protect drawings of the product

Getting help

Consider which type of protection you need. You can: