BUSINESS OBJECTIVES ACHIEVED
We provide Intellectual Property services in the following areas:
Forbes Solicitors' intellectual property solicitors provide advice on all aspects of intellectual property law, including trademarks, patents, and copyright. Our experienced intellectual property lawyers work with a range of clients, from entrepreneurs to established businesses, to protect their valuable intellectual property assets. Our IP solicitors can help with drafting and negotiating contracts, advising on infringement disputes, and handling the registration process for your intellectual property.
Intellectual property broadly covers creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. Intellectual property is most commonly protected in law via patents, designs, trade marks and copyright, each of which, if protected properly, prescribe exclusive rights to use them.
Intellectual property law in the UK is a complex area and depending on the products and services that your business provides, there are a series of intellectual property rights that you may either automatically hold on creation or following active steps to obtain intellectual property protection. Our guide to intellectual property rights discusses each intellectual property right, how it arises, and the protection afforded to the holder. In the United Kingdom, the most common forms of intellectual property rights are as follows:
Whether you are a small business that has recently started trading or have been established in your industry for several years, it is always worth considering how you can protect - and later exploit - the intellectual property rights that your business owns. It is estimated that up to 80% of the value in a business can be found in its intellectual property, and having appropriate registrations and licensing arrangements prevents the likelihood of third parties copying your products and services, but also increases the chances of third party investments in your business or franchising opportunities in the future.
As Intellectual Property rights often tie in with other Information Technology policies and agreements, we also offer a range of other services for your business. Click here to see our IT services.
Our intellectual property solicitors have extensive experience in protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights, including trademarks, patents, copyrights, and trade secrets. We provide tailored legal advice and solutions to meet the specific needs of our clients, whether they are individuals, startups, or established businesses. Our team is dedicated to providing high-quality, cost-effective services and achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients.Who do our intellectual property solicitors help?Our intellectual property solicitors help individuals and businesses protect their intellectual property rights, including trademarks, patents, copyrights, and trade secrets. They also assist with licensing agreements, infringement disputes, and other related legal matters.
Our intellectual property lawyers can help protect your creative works, inventions, and brand identity by providing legal advice and representation in matters such as trademark registration, patent applications, copyright infringement, and trade secret protection. We can also assist in negotiating and drafting licensing agreements, conducting IP due diligence for mergers and acquisitions, and enforcing your IP rights through litigation or alternative dispute resolution. Our goal is to help you maximise the value of your intellectual property assets and minimise the risk of infringement or misappropriation.
Our legal experts possess vast experience in providing legal services for Intellectual Property cases to clients throughout the UK. Get in touch with us now to consult with our team.
Protect brand names and/or logos for your business and its goods and services.
Registered Trade Marks:
If you would like further information regarding trade mark registrations and oppositions, please click here.
The Trade Marks Act 1994 contains a series of absolute grounds, which preclude the registration of trade marks that are of a descriptive nature or those trade marks that lack distinctiveness and cannot be distinguished from the goods/services in question.
Should registration of your trade mark not be possible, then you may still use the trade mark on an unregistered basis (providing that a third party has not obtained registration for a similar or identical trade mark, or otherwise has acquired goodwill in the trade mark).
Unregistered trade marks and the goodwill that is held in a business can be protected and enforced against a third party infringer under the tort of passing off, under which a claim will be successful if the following can be established:
a) there is a goodwill attached to the goods and/or services that are offered by the innocent party;
b) a misrepresentation has occurred (whether innocent or not) by the guilty party that it is the provider of such goods and/or services; and
c) loss or damage has been caused to the innocent party as a result of the guilty party's misrepresentation.
If you would like further information regarding unregistered trade marks and bringing or defending passing off claims, please click here.
Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 copyright protection is available for artistic works (for example, paintings, engravings, photographs, architectural designs, logos, technical drawings etc.), literary works (for example, instruction manuals, computer programs and some types of database), broadcasts, dramatic works, recorded works etc.
Unlike many of the other forms of intellectual property, there is no registration procedure for copyright; instead, once the work is fixed (i.e. in writing, recorded or otherwise), copyright protection automatically arises.
This does not offer a monopoly right as a trade mark does, however the existence of copyright protection prevents the unauthorised copying and publication of your copyrighted works by a third party (including any secondary infringements that may take place as a result of this primary infringement)
Subject to some exceptions, copyright protection expires at the end of the period of 70 years from the calendar year in which the author dies (note that the author of the works may not necessarily be the owner of the copyrighted works, should works have been commissioned during the course of their employment).
Once copyright protection has been established, in order to protect the copyrighted works and prevent third parties from copying the same, businesses commonly mark the copyrighted works with the © symbol, their name, and the year in which the works were created.
Design rights protect the shape and configuration of the whole or part of an original object and seek to prevent third parties from copying that appearance.
Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, certain designs are automatically protected on an unregistered basis upon their creation; however, in some instances it is also advisable to obtain registration (under the Registered Designs Act 1949, as amended), in order to prevent third parties from copying your products.
These provide the holder with an exclusive monopoly right to use and exploit the design and bring an infringement claim against a third party that infringes this right.
Exist for a period of 25 years post-registration, which is significantly longer than the protection afforded to unregistered designs, as below.
It is obtained in the UK through registration at the IPO and internationally through similar governing bodies.
This protects three dimensional shapes comprising the whole or part of an article, such as the configuration of an original product that you may manufacture (note that in this regard, there is an overlap with the rights afforded under copyright laws).
The owner of an unregistered design right has the exclusive right to reproduce the design for commercial purposes by making articles to that design or a design document recording the design for the purpose of enabling such articles to be made.
Primary infringement by a third party occurs where it carries out - or authorises a third party to carry out - an act which is an exclusive right of the owner (i.e. by making designs which are an identical copy of the owner's designs).
There is no registration required and the right arises automatically from when the designs were recorded or made available for sale or hire.
In most cases, unregistered design rights last for a period of 10 years from the end of the calendar year in which the designs were made available for sale or hire.
A patent provides the inventor of a unique and original product or process the monopoly right to prevent third parties from making and selling the same invention without permission.
In the UK, patents are obtained through registration with the IPO, and have a duration of 20 years from their filing date, providing that annual renewal fees are paid and the patent is not subject to invalidation proceedings.
Under the Patents Act 1977, in order for registration to be obtained, it must be established that the patent is new, involves an inventive step, is capable of industrial application, and it is not specifically excluded from protection as a patent (exclusions include surgical techniques carried out on the human body, inventions which would, if exploited, promote anti-social behaviour, and plant or animal varieties.)
It is widely established that should an individual or entity receive confidential information in confidence, they cannot take advantage of it, unless they are expressly authorised to do so.
In order information to be protected under the common law of confidentiality, the following three-stage test must first be satisfied:
a) The information itself must have the necessary quality of confidence (here, factors to consider are whether the information relates to a trade secret and whether it is already in the public domain);
b) The information must have been imparted in circumstances imposing an obligation of confidence (such as during contractual negotiations, whereby parties commonly exchange information relating to trading practices and product specifications, or during the course of an employee's employment); and
c) There must be an unauthorised use of that confidential information to the detriment of the holder.
It is not necessary to obtain registration for your confidential information (unless, of course, such also comprises the aforementioned registerable intellectual property rights, for which registration would be advisable), and such rights last indefinitely, subject to authorised disclosure.
In order to ensure that your confidential information is adequately protected, we would recommend that your commercial and employment contracts contain appropriate restrictions on when your confidential information can and cannot be used or disclosed by the contracting third party. Alternatively, you can implement a confidentiality agreement or non-disclosure agreement where there is no more formal legal contract governing the relationship.
An intellectual property solicitor provides legal advice and assistance to clients on matters related to intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. They help clients protect their intellectual property rights, negotiate licensing agreements, and litigate disputes. They also advise on the commercialisation and exploitation of intellectual property assets.
A trademark is a symbol, word, or phrase that identifies and distinguishes the goods or services of one company from those of another. It is a form of intellectual property that can be registered with the UK Intellectual Property Office to protect the owner's exclusive right to use the trademark in connection with their products or services.
There are various protections available for the different forms of intellectual property. The following is a brief summary of these protections.
Copyright protects creative output so long as the artistic work, be it graphic, literary, dramatic or musical are original and substantial enough to amount to a 'work'. The protection of copyright arises automatically as soon as the artistic work has been created.
To register a trademark you need to apply to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). You can do this online or by post. Your application should include a clear representation of your trademark, a list of the goods or services you want to use it for, and the relevant fees. The IPO will examine your application and, if successful, will publish your trademark in the Trade Marks Journal for scrutiny purposes. If there are no objections, your trademark will be registered.
The different types of intellectual property are patents, trademarks, designs, copyright, and trade secrets. Patents protect inventions, trademarks protect brands and logos, designs protect the appearance of products, copyright protects creative works, and trade secrets protect confidential information.
A patent is a legal right granted by the UK government to an inventor, giving them exclusive rights to prevent others from making, using or selling their invention for a certain period of time. This is to encourage innovation and protect the inventor's intellectual property.
Intellectual property rights can be obtained by registering your invention, design, trademark or copyright with the relevant government agency. For patents, you must apply to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), while trademarks and designs are registered with the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). Copyright protection is automatic, but you can register your work with the UK Copyright Service to provide evidence of ownership. It is important to ensure that your intellectual property is original and not already protected by someone else's rights.
To register brand names or logos as trade marks the marks must firstly be capable of being graphically represented and must be distinctive enough to distinguish the goods of one undertaking from another.
A mark will be refused by the IPO if it consists exclusively of words designating the quality, quantity, purpose, geographical origin or common trade terms of the product or services (unless constant use has already made the mark distinctive). The IPO will also refuse marks that are likely to deceive the public as to what the products are or can actually do or other marks that are against public policy.
Other businesses may object to a trade mark if it is identical or similar to their own mark, especially if the mark will be used for promoting similar goods or services.
A patent can be obtained to protect your rights to a new invention. If a patent is granted, the inventor will get a monopoly over use of the invention for generally 20 years.
The filing of a patent with the IPO is a crucial step as the protection is granted to the first person to file for the patent, not the first person to invent. In order to obtain a patent from the IPO the invention must be 'new', constitute an 'inventive step' and be capable of 'industrial application'. To be 'new' the invention cannot have been disclosed to the general public before the filing of the patent application. To be an 'inventive step' the invention must show thinking not obvious to a skilled person in that particular area, whilst 'industrial application' simply means that it is possible to make the product or carry out the process.
To apply for a patent you must first conduct a search to ensure your invention is new and not already patented. Then, you can file an application with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and pay the required fees. Your application will be examined by the IPO and, if approved, your patent will be granted. It is recommended to seek professional advice from a patent solicitor or agent to ensure your application is complete and meets all requirements.
The best way to protect a business' reputation is through the use of a trade mark. Trade marks protect the logos and brand marks of a business to which the business' reputation is attached and prevent other businesses from using the same or similar marks.
In addition to or in the absence of a trade mark a business may fall back on the common law concept of 'passing off'. This prevents other businesses from presenting their goods or services as the goods or services of your business and making unfair use of your business' reputation.
To succeed with a passing off claim it is first necessary to show that your goods or services have a reputation amongst customers and that this reputation is linked to a distinctive feature of the goods or services, such as a name or a packaging style. Once a reputation can be shown, passing off can be established if the other business is found to be using a similar feature which results in the customers actually being fooled as to the origin of the products and which is likely to damage either your profit or business' reputation.
Copyright is a legal right that protects original works of authorship, such as literary, artistic, musical, and dramatic works. It gives the creator of the work exclusive rights to control how it is used and distributed, and prevents others from using or copying the work without permission. copyright is governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
The best means of protecting information considered to be confidential is to enter into an express agreement with a business partner or employees or anyone else that will be granted access to the information. With employees, confidentiality clauses can be included in their service contracts to ensure that information regarded as confidential cannot be exploited to your disadvantage either during their employment or for a period after their employment.
Without an express agreement the law still considers certain trade secrets and information to be confidential and remedies can be sought to prevent disclosure or to compensate for damage caused through disclosure.
Copyright is automatically granted to the creator of an original work. However, to have legal evidence of ownership, you can register your copyright with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). You can apply online or by post, and the fee varies depending on the type of work. The IPO will then issue a certificate of registration, which can be used as evidence in court if necessary.
If someone infringes on your intellectual property rights you should take legal action by sending a cease and desist letter or filing a lawsuit. You can also seek mediation or arbitration to resolve the dispute. It is important to gather evidence of the infringement and consult with a lawyer who specialises in intellectual property law to determine the best course of action.
Intellectual property refers to the legal rights that protect a business's intangible assets, such as inventions, designs, trademarks, and creative works. These rights allow the business to prevent others from using or copying their intellectual property without permission, and can be used to generate revenue through licensing or selling. intellectual property is protected by various laws, including copyright, patents, and trademarks.
Copyright is automatically granted to the creator of an original work, such as a book, song, or artwork, as soon as it is created. There is no need to register or apply for copyright . However, it is recommended to include a copyright notice on the work to indicate ownership and deter infringement. Copyright protection lasts for the creator's lifetime plus 70 years after their death.
To protect intellectual property in the UK, it is important to register trademarks, patents, and copyrights. This can be done through the Intellectual Property Office. It is also important to keep confidential information secure and to have non-disclosure agreements in place with employees and contractors. In case of infringement, legal action can be taken to enforce intellectual property rights.
Intellectual property rights are legal protections for creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols. These rights include patents, trademarks, copyrights, and designs, which give the owner exclusive rights to use and profit from their creations. these rights are governed by various laws and regulations, including the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and the Trade Marks Act 1994.
Yes, if you have intellectual property that you want to protect or if you are accused of infringing someone else's intellectual property rights, it is advisable to seek the advice and assistance of an intellectual property solicitor. intellectual property law can be complex and specialised, and a solicitor can help you navigate the legal landscape and protect your rights.
To get intellectual property rights you need to apply for a patent, trademark, or copyright through the Intellectual Property Office. The application process involves providing detailed information about your invention, brand, or creative work, and paying the required fees. Once your application is approved, you will have exclusive rights to use, sell, and licence your intellectual property for a certain period of time.
You can trademark any brand that is unique and not already registered by someone else. This includes names, logos, slogans, and even sounds or smells associated with your brand. However, you cannot trademark generic or descriptive terms that do not distinguish your brand from others in the market. Additionally, trademarks cannot be offensive or misleading.
To protect your new idea for an invention or process you can apply for a patent. A patent gives you the exclusive right to make, use, and sell your invention for a certain period of time. To be eligible for a patent, your invention must be new, inventive, and capable of industrial application. You can apply for a patent through the UK Intellectual Property Office.
To sell intellectual property the owner must first identify the type of IP they possess, such as patents, trademarks, or copyrights. They should then conduct a valuation of the IP and determine a fair price. The owner can then market the IP to potential buyers through various channels, such as IP brokers or online marketplaces. Once a buyer is found, a legally binding agreement should be drafted and signed to transfer ownership of the IP.
Yes, a business' reputation can be protected under UK law. The law of defamation provides protection against false statements that harm a business' reputation. Additionally, businesses can take steps to proactively protect their reputation, such as monitoring online reviews and addressing any negative feedback in a professional manner.
Yes, you can keep the secrets of your trade confidential. trade secrets are protected under the law of confidence and can be enforced through legal action if someone breaches your confidentiality. However, it is important to take reasonable steps to keep the information confidential, such as using non-disclosure agreements and limiting access to the information.
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