What is IP?

Intellectual Property (IP) is the result of creative and intellectual endeavour.  IP Rights (IPRs) are intangible property that can be traded, licensed, sold, etc. and exist as registered rights – Patents, Registered Trade Marks, Registered Designs, Plant Breeders’ Rights – and unregistered rights – Copyright, Unregistered Designs, Unregistered Trade Marks, Confidential Information and Trade Secrets.

IPRs provide both a deterrent and a means to enforce your rights.  The deterrent value is un-quantifiable, but does in many situations avoid disputes without your knowing and, should you need it, your rights are enforceable through the Courts.

For further information on IP, please visit the website of the Intellectual Property Office

 

Registered Designs

A Registered Design protects the appearance of a whole or part of a product

In detail…

Protection for your Designs, whether they are 2-D drawings or 3-D articles, is provided by Registered Designs.  A Registered Design protects the appearance of a whole or part of a product resulting from features such as its lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials, or its surface decoration.  Registration of a Design provides the proprietor in the UK and EU with a monopoly of up to twenty-five years to prevent third parties from, without consent, using the Design or making or importing articles according to the Design.

In the UK and EU, Designs undergo a streamlined, formality only examination procedure, which does not assess whether the Registered Design is actually valid.  As such, Designs that are registered are enforceable if, at the time of filing, they would have been new and have individual character, which is determined with reference to the overall impression of an informed user in the product field in question.

Registered Designs protect aesthetic attributes of a design, and do not protect methods or principles of construction or purely functional shapes.  Therefore, although obtaining Registration of a Design is a near certainty, that does not mean that the Design registered is actually enforceable, as that depends upon its validity at its time of filing.

Designs are classified by their type of use and are classified according to the Locarno Classification.  Although it is a requirement to include a Locarno Classification in the Application, by listing a particular Classification that does not limit the extent of protection provided by the Registered Design.  Registered Design protection is an assessment of what is shown in the representations, which are, for the UK and the EU, normally up to seven representations per individual Design.

It is also worth noting that multiple Designs may be filed within the same Application, which is a form of economy of scale as this brings down the overall cost per Design, as long as each of the Designs fall within the same Locarno Classification.

Extension of Registered Design protection beyond the European Union or the UK per se can be accomplished by filing individual Designs in individual territories or through filing an International Registered Design Application under the Hague Agreement.

 

In detail…

Registered Trade Marks are identified with the internationally-recognised symbol ® and confer an exclusive right to use the Trade Mark for the registered Goods/Services.  A Trade Mark can be any sign, normally represented graphically, which distinguishes the Goods/Services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.  The Trade Mark may consist of words, designs, letters, numerals, sounds, colours or the shapes of Goods or their packaging.  Trade Marks cannot, normally, be registered for signs which are descriptive of the Goods/Services; however such descriptive signs may become registrable through extensive use of the sign.

Registered Trade Marks prevent third parties from using, without consent, an identical or similar sign for identical or similar Goods/Services, although where similarity is involved, there must also be a likelihood of confusion in the marketplace.

Trade Mark Registrations are territorial and, typically, one starts with a Trade Mark Registration covering the UK or the European Union, and then considers building up protection from there.

Goods and Services are classified by their type, use, or material of manufacture and are classified according to the Nice Classification.  Accordingly, so as to cover all of the relevant Goods/Services you offer, it may be necessary to include more than one Class in any Application.

Prior to filing, we recommend conducting a search of the Official Register so as to try to foresee any problems with obtaining registration of your Trade Mark

Extension of Trade Mark protection beyond the European Union or the UK per se can be accomplished by filing individual Marks in individual territories or through filing an International Trade Mark Application under the Madrid Protocol.

Trade Marks

A Trade Mark can be any sign, normally represented graphically, which distinguishes the Goods/Services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings

 

Patents

Patents provide a twenty-year monopoly preventing third parties from copying your invention, without consent

In detail…

Patents protect technical aspects of an invention, for example its function, construction or use, but do not protect the way it looks.

Patents provide a twenty-year monopoly preventing third parties from copying your invention, without consent, in return for a full disclosure of your invention so that the public may practice it once the monopoly expires.

Patents are granted for inventions that meet four criteria which are that it must be new, inventive, capable of industrial application and not excluded subject-matter (such as computer programs, scientific or mathematical formulae, presentation of information, business methods, etc., but only if the invention relates to those things as such).  Some excluded subject-matter can form a patentable invention if its Application provides something technical, but methods of treatment of humans and/or animals are always barred from Patent protection.

It is important to note that your invention must remain confidential until at least the date of filing your Patent Application, otherwise your own disclosure of the invention may invalidate the Patent / Patent Application.

When one files a Patent Application, in addition to the required forms, one must file a document which describes your invention, and that is called a Patent Specification.  A normal Patent Specification has two main parts, a set of claims and a description, and the Specification has the dual purpose of legally defining the monopoly sort, which is achieved through the filing of the claims, and technically detailing at least one example of the invention, which is achieved through the filing of the description – including any supporting drawings, data, etc.

Generally speaking, inventions fall into two main categories being either an apparatus or what can be termed a method, and such apparatus claims, method claims or combinations of both types are used to protect all forms of invention.

Patents are territorial and, typically, one starts with a Patent Application in the UK, and then considers building up protection from there.

The process for achieving grant of a Patent takes a number of years in the UK and involves the main steps of filing, and then the Patent Office conducts a search of the invention, publication of the Application as filed, examination for the four criteria mentioned above, and, finally, grant.

A granted UK Patent prevents third parties from copying your invention, without consent, and also provides eligibility to the Patent Box, which provides a reduction in corporation tax payable on World-wide profits from Patented inventions.

With Burrows Chambers Associates, your IP is in safe hands.

We are regulated by IPReg, the Intellectual Property Regulation Board, and protect our Clients interests through professional indemnity insurance.