Intellectual Property Office

The Intellectual Property Office is the official government body responsible for granting Intellectual Property (IP) rights in the United Kingdom. These rights include:

  • Copyright
  • Patents
  • Designs
  • Trade marks

 

The Intellectual Property Office can help you get the right type of protection for your creation or invention.

What is copyright?



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.



Copyright can protect:

  • literary works, including novels, instruction manuals, computer programs, song lyrics, newspaper articles, etc
  • dramatic works, including dance or mime
  • musical works
  • layouts or typographical arrangements used to publish a work, for a book for instance
  • recordings of a work, including sound and film
  • broadcasts of a work
  • artistic works, including paintings, engravings, photographs, sculptures, collages, architecture, technical drawings, diagrams, maps and logos



You should only copy or use a work protected by copyright with the copyright owner's permission.



What is a patent?



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. It gives the owner the right to prevent others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without permission.



What is a trade mark?



A trade mark is a sign which can distinguish your goods and services from those of your competitors. It can be for example words, logos or a combination of both.  You can use your trade mark as a marketing tool so that customers can recognise your products or services.



What is a registered design?



A registered design is a legal right which protects the overall visual appearance of a product in the geographical area you register it. The visual features that form the design include such things as the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture, materials and the ornamentation of the product which, when applied to the product, give it a unique appearance. You can also register a design showing the ornamentation alone e.g. a pattern to go on a product or a stylised logo.

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