3. Protect your intellectual property

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

The type of protection you can get depends on what you’ve created.

Type of protection Examples of intellectual property
(automatic right)
Literary works (including writing), art, photography, films, TV, music, web content, sound recordings
Trade marks Product names, logos, jingles
Patents Inventions and products, eg machines and machine parts, tools, medicines
Design right
(automatic right)
Shapes of objects
Registered designs Appearance of a product including, shape, packaging, patterns, colours, decoration

More than one type of protection could be linked to a single product, eg 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

You can find out what type of intellectual property you have using the IP Equip service.

Keep your property secret

You should keep your intellectual property secret until it’s registered, if it isn’t protected by an automatic right (like copyright or design right).

A non-disclosure agreement lets you discuss your IP with someone and stops them from telling anyone else about it or using it for themselves.

Non-disclosure agreements can’t protect intellectual property once it’s available in public.