A patent protects new inventions and covers how things work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made.
Your invention must:
Your invention cannot be:
If your invention meets these requirements, you may want to consider applying for a patent.
A trade mark is a sign which can distinguish your goods and services from those of your competitors (you may refer to your trade mark as your "brand"). It can be for example words, logos or a combination of both. The only way to register your trade mark is to apply to us - The Intellectual Property Office.
You can use your trade mark as a marketing tool so that customers can recognise your products or services.
Trade marks are acceptable if they are:
Trade marks are not registrable if they:
A Registered Design is a legal right which protects the overall visual appearance of a product or a part of a product in the country or countries you register it.
For the purposes of registration, a design is legally defined as being "the appearance of the whole or part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product or ornamentation."
This means that protection is given to the way a product looks. The appearance of your product may result from a combination of elements such as shapes, colours and materials.
A Registered Design can be a valuable intellectual property right. It can form the basis of an infringement action against other parties, and will help you in stopping others from creating designs which are too similar to your own (within the same geographical area you have protected your design).
You may not be able to register your design if:
Copyright can protect:
You should only copy or use a work protected by copyright with the copyright owner's permission.
Copyright applies to any medium. This means that you must not reproduce copyright protected work in another medium without permission. This includes, publishing photographs on the internet, making a sound recording of a book, a painting of a photograph and so on.
Copyright does not protect ideas for a work. It is only when the work itself is fixed, for example in writing, that copyright automatically protects it. This means that you do not have to apply for copyright.
A copyright protected work can have more than one copyright, or another intellectual property (IP) right, connected to it. For example, an album of music can have separate copyrights for individual songs, sound recordings, artwork, and so on. Whilst copyright can protect the artwork of your logo, you could also register the logo as a trade mark.
IP for Business is a range of online support tools to help SMEs and advisors identify, protect, use and grow their IP. It is made up of five individual yet complementary tools:
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