How To Protect Your Innovation

When innovating it is essential that you protect your creative and unique ideas. Without protection your innovations can be stolen by competitors or copycats. Intellectual Property rights enable you to protect your innovations and understanding your protection options allows you to choose the best form of protection for you.

  

Patents

  

Patents lets owners exclude other businesses or companies from using, making, or passing off their protected innovations as their own. The patent process is time consuming and the costs are substantial indicative of the long-term benefits. Patents have a life of 20 years providing protection but will not be able to be renewed after that time is up.

An innovation can only be patented if it is not already public knowledge before the date of application, something new that isn’t an obvious adaption of something that already exists.

    

Trademark

 

Trademarks are used to protect any designs, logos, or other identifiers related to a particular product, service, or business. Trademarks can include colours, fonts, slogans, sounds, and shapes. Registered trademarks can be recognised by a symbol, ®, that can appear on packaging, labels or on a website.

To register for a trademark, you need to fill out an application and a fee will need to be paid. The application process will often take three to five months to register and after every ten years a renewal fee will need to be paid to ensure a trademark lasts indefinitely.

     

Copyright

  

In layman’s terms, copyright refers to the exclusive right to make copies of a piece of work. It is creative and owners (and anyone they have given authorisation to) are the only people allowed to reproduce the work. Copyright protection lasts for around 70 years depending on the piece of work produced.

Copyright does not require a registration, it is automatic when a piece of literary, dramatic, artistic, musical work is produced, including web content, photographs, and illustrations. Similarly to trademarks, copyright is represented by © and is widely recognised.

     

Design Registration

  

A registered design is used to protect the external shapes of products. The owner is able to prevent anyone else from copying the design of their product. The design needs to be original and not have been used before the date of application.

Design registration can take up to two to three months and will last for an initial five years and can be renewed in periods ranging from five to twenty-five years. A design registration will cost £50 per design and renewal will cost an additional fee.

         

When looking at protecting your innovations, it is important to research your options thoroughly and choose the appropriate form of protection for your business. For more information on innovation and the different types available read our Innovation page.

Categorised: Innovation

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