Thursday, 11 November 2021

Intellectual property and your work

Protecting your intellectual property makes it easier to take legal action against anyone who steals or copies it. The type of protection you can get depends on what you have created. You get some types of protection automatically, others you have to apply for.

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.

Automatic protection

Type of protection and
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 and
Examples of intellectual property with Time to allow for application

Trade marks -
Product names, logos, jingles. Allow 4 months

Registered designs -
Appearance of a product including, shape, packaging, patterns, colours, decoration; Allow 1 month

Patents -
Inventions and products, eg machines and machine parts, tools, medicines. Allow 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.

For more guidance see: Intellectual property and your work: Protect your intellectual property - GOV.UK (
https://www.gov.uk/intellectual-property-an-overview/protect-your-intellectual-property)


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