This is a handy guide for the business owner on the subject of intellectual property rights relating to business. It covers useful topics such as how to protect your business from intellectual property theft to what kind of intellectual property protection is best for your business.
Trade marks are symbols used to aid people in recognizing your business. They can take the form of sounds, signs, pictures or jingles. Sometimes unscrupulous competitors will use a trade mark similar to yours with the intention of causing confusion among your customers, and this can have the result of diverting some of your customers to the similar business, unbeknownst to them.
Trade marks are protected under the common law in the UK. This means that you don’t have to take any steps to actively protect your trade mark from intellectual property abuse or infringement, since the law protects trade marks automatically. However, the laws that protect registered trade marks are more advantageous to the person claiming an abuse has occurred so it is always a good idea to get advice from a professional on how to register your trade mark.
Trade mark infringement can cause significant cash flow problems in businesses. While business owners can secure business funding from places like http://wongaforbusiness, sometimes recourse to the courts will be needed to protect the financial interests of a business.
The law of passing off can offer further intellectual property rights for your business in the event that someone tries to infringe your intellectual property rights. Passing off is known as a tort under UK law and this means that where it occurs you can claim damages for any losses or damage. It happens when a competitor starts to use a similar name or identity to your business thereby creating confusion among your customer base as to who is who.
Patents are another way to protect intellectual property rights in business. Patents are special intellectual property protection that must be applied for and formally recognized. Strict criteria apply to what can and what may not be recognized as patentable, so it is a good idea to get legal advice on the subject. The most important consideration is the unique nature of the idea, concept or product to be patented. This will be checked and sufficient evidence must be submitted to support the application for a patent.
Patents often take years to be formally processed but when they are they protect you against someone else ‘stealing’ your idea and using it as their own for their own profit. Patents also allow you to extend the reach of your business, for example you can license someone else to use your idea in exchange for a commission which is protected by the patent.
Patents have their limits though. They take a long time to be registered and even when the process of registration is complete, enforcement of legal rights in connection with the patent can be difficult and costly. A patent can last for a maximum of 20 years, and so will not offer indefinite protection for your invention.