Protecting your intellectual property makes it easier to take legal action against anyone who steals or copies it.
Types of protection
The type of protection you can get depends on what you’ve created. You get some types of protection automatically, others you have to apply for.
|Type of protection||Examples of intellectual property|
|Copyright||Writing and literary works, art, photography, films, TV, music, web content, sound recordings|
|Design right||Shapes of objects|
Protection you have to apply for
|Type of protection||Examples of intellectual property||Time to allow for application|
|Trade marks||Product names, logos, jingles||4 months|
|Registered designs||Appearance of a product including, shape, packaging, patterns, colours, decoration||1 month|
|Patents||Inventions and products, eg machines and machine parts, tools, medicines||Around 5 years|
Keep these types of intellectual property secret until they’re 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, 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
Consider which type of protection you need. You can: