What is intellectual property?
There are a variety of intellectual property rights, some are obvious and some are less so. The following are examples of intellectual property:
- Trade Marks – these are perhaps the most frequently recognised form of intellectual property. A trademark is a mark applied to goods or services and distinguishes them from other goods and services available. A good example being the Apple logo that appears on iPhones or Macs.
- Copyright – Perhaps less obvious, copyright is an automatic right that applies to literary works (including computer coding), sound recordings, publications, films, dramatic works and much more.
- Design Rights – These can be registered or unregistered and protect the visual appearance of a product and the overall impression that a product creates.
- Patents – A patent protects an invention. The invention must be novel and a patent has to be applied for. Patents protect the functionality of a product.
- Passing Off – This is not so commonly heard of but is a powerful tool in protecting unregistered intellectual property rights. Passing off can protect the reputation and can assist in preventing other businesses from ‘piggybacking’ off the reputation of another business.
The value of intellectual property
The rights set out above can be utilised as tools for monetising intellectual property rights. When exploited effectively, intellectual property, can protect investment, allow a business to obtain a competitive advantage and protect revenue streams.
As an example, Mercedes-Benz are known for manufacturing cars. The company owns a number of trademarks which are applied to the cars so, we as consumers can identify the origin of that car being Mercedes-Benz. However, Mercedes-Benz have applied the trademark to products such as T-shirts, hats, suitcases and even camp chairs. The brand has been exploited and commercialised to create new revenue streams and give Mercedes-Benz a presence in new markets. An effective way of doing this is through licensing. A brand will often license its trademark rights to another business that will produce goods or services that the business would not normally offer; this has the effect of increasing brand awareness but also creating additional revenue for a business by way of license fees and, potentially, royalties.
To successfully exploit intellectual property, it must be protected. The above rights offer protection to right holders and the enforcement of those rights is crucial in maintaining a successful portfolio of intellectual property that is not hindered by infringement. To discuss protecting or exploiting your intellectual property please contact us for an initial discussion. We offer a full range of services from intellectual property dispute resolution to the drafting of agreements to carrying out intellectual property ‘health checks’.
How we can help?
At Bennett Oakley Solicitors we strive to provide our clients with a unique blend of high street friendliness and corporate professionalism. Our highly experienced team will provide your family and/or business with sound, practical legal advice which will equip you to make the best decisions regarding your matter. Get in contact with us today to find out how we can help you!
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