Intellectual property and your work
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
Consider which type of protection you need. You can:
- use the IP Equip service to find out which type of intellectual property you have
- speak to a professional, for example a patent attorney or trademark attorney - basic advice may be free
- go to a local IP clinic or the British Library Business and IP Centre in London