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|
|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|
|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.