Intellectual Property of any business or individual is often the most overlooked but most valuable asset of the business. Oftentimes, non-registration or improper registration of the intellectual property can have siginificant negative consequences to the entire business, and, in fact, can bring the entire business to a halt or to a dissolution.
Below list sets out some of the services that we offer and can also serve as a broad guidance to access the health of a company’s IP issues.
- Drafting and negotiating licensing, sublicensing, bundling, distribution and marketing agreements in the context of both domestic and international transactions;
- Advising on trademark and copyrights issues, including appropriate filings;
- Drafting and negotiating technology transfer agreements, including complex cross-border technology transfers and assignments and non-disclosure agreements;
- Registration of copyrights, trademarks and patents.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need to register my intellectual property rights?
Your Intellectual Property (IP) is one of your most valuable assets, whether as an individual or as a business. It can add to the competitiveness of the business and add to the overall success of the business. Since the IP rights are not tangible assets, it may be difficult to see their true value, however, they do offer a significant addition to the overall value of any business or brand. Failure to register your IP may result in third parties using your property and thereby stealing from your business.
- What rights can I register?
There are 4 main intellectual property rights that can be protected in the United Kingdom:
a) inventions such as new products and processes
b) decorative designs, and designs for the appearance or shape of a product
c) names and symbols for your product or service (including your business name) — trade marks
d) original written publications, recordings and other material such as websites, catalogues, promotional literature, manuals, works of art, photos and other images and formats and layouts for publications such as newsletters, webpages or other material
Please note that most countries have very similar IP rights protection laws, however, there may be some variations as to what rights may be registered, therefore, you must consult a specialist to determine which of your work products may be registered.
- Am I protected if someone is using my unregistered intellectual property?
Depending on the type of intellectual property and your individual circumstances you may be protected. However, you will have to demonstrate in court that you are in fact the owner of the IP, that you have been using the intellectual property and acquired certain rights in the intellectual property. Please note that in order to bring certain actions (and in certain countries) you will have to demonstrate the existence of a valid registration of IP rights.
- Where should I register the rights?
The choice of the place of registration of intellectual property rights will depend on your location and the places where you currently or are planning to conduct business. This will differ in each individual case and should be access based on particular circumstances.
- Who should hold the intellectual property rights?
The decision regarding the entity/person that will hold IP rights should not be regarded in a vacuum, but should be considered as part of your tax planning exercise. In certain jurisdiction the IP may be taxed if it is registered in that particular jurisdiction and then may be taxed upon your disposing of the IP to your descendants.
- Can I make one application which will give me protection worldwide?
No, it is not possible to make such application. As a general rule the protection of IP rights is restricted geographically to the country of its registration. However, under the current regulatory regime it is possible to register a trade mark as a European Community Trade Mark and patent as a European Patent, which will allow for the protection throughout all the countries currently in the European Union. Furthermore, currently 85 countries adhere to the Madrid Protocol (dealing with registration of trade marks) and over 80 countries adhere to the Patent Co-Operation Treaty (dealing with registration of patents), which essentially means that if there is a registration in one of the member countries, then it would be possible to expand the registration to encompass other member countries.
- How much does it cost to make an application?
The application fee would depend on 3 factors:
a) The country in which the application is made;
b) The type of IP rights for which the registration is being sought; and
c) The number of classes of goods and services covered under the application.
- How long does protection last?
The length of protection would depend on the type of IP rights and also on the specific type of work. For example, literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works and films are protected for 70 years following the year in which the author dies. Trade mark registration lasts 10 year from the date of registration, however, is renewable for unlimited 10 year periods.