Intellectual Property


Why is intellectual property (IP) law important?

On any given day, you can expect to encounter thousands of unique ideas protected by intellectual property (IP).  Right this very second, intellectual property law is having an effect on you. The code on this site, the words on this page, the browser you are using to view this page – all of these things are protected by intellectual property law.

Without intellectual property, the modern commercial world as we know it would not be the same.  Businesses would find it difficult to exploit competitive advantages and profit from their work.

Clearly, IP law is important.  However, it is also a complex area of the law and it is difficult to understand where your business stands in the complex web of IP rights.

Our intellectual property specialists are here to help you understand the law and make sure your business profits from its own work and doesn’t stray the wrong side of the law.

What is covered by intellectual property law ?

Intellectual property law includes a wide range of rights and concepts including:

  • · Trademarks – IP rights designed to protect a business’s identity and brand.  Certain words, logos, sounds and even smells can be protected by trademarks.  Trademarks can either be registered or unregistered.
  • · Copyrights – protects unique works of an artistic nature, including literary and ‘pure’ artworks, web copy, databases and even computer code.  Copyrights come into existence automatically and last for the lifetime of the author of the work plus an additional 70 years.
  • · Patents – protects unique inventions or technical processes which have applications to certain industries.  Does not include discoveries relating to the natural world, mathematics and medical sciences.
  • · Design rights – protects three dimensional designs.  Unregistered design rights are similar to copyrights as they automatically come into existence, although they only last 15 years.
  • · Confidential information – trade/business secrets, including price lists, marketing techniques, unpublished copyright works, customer lists, sales leads.
  • · Data protection – the Data Protection Act 1998
  • · Websites – protection of domain names, web copy, computer code
  • · Freedom of information – the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Online business

Online businesses, just like any business, are subject to the law.  However, a recent EC study has shown that up to half of online businesses in Europe are not compliant with the law.   Although online businesses are subject to ordinary laws that ‘brick and mortar’ businesses have to follow (such as the Sale of Goods Act), the Data Protection Act 1998, the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 are particularly relevant and important to the online world.

We can advise you on your online business’s compliance with the law.  We commonly assist our clients by drafting terms and conditions of trading and privacy agreements, although we are able to assist with a wide range of matters.

How can we assist your business

We provide a wide-range of intellectual property services, including:

  • · General IP protection advice
  • · IP license drafting
  • · Confidentiality agreement drafting
  • Negotiating and drafting assignments of IP rights
  • · Negotiating and  drafting manufacturing, franchise, agency and research agreements
  • · IP litigation
  • · Counterfeit monitoring and litigation

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