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Just how intellectual should your property be?

Concepts are rife, your work, needs to be protected. At the start, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) can be enough to stop people from talking about your brand as you build a team ready for launch, but the moment that it goes live into the world your work, your intellectual property needs something more …

Why? Because if it’s a good enough idea someone else will wish that they’d done it first and want to copy it. For some companies, the fact that they’re not the first out with the tech bears no issue – they will want to take their strong brand and place their own stamp on it.

Now there’s a lot of technicalities that go into the law of trademarks and copyright which we guide you through during our course and focus on specifically when you’ve got past the investment panel, but if you’re keen to know the basics, here they are to get you started.

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property is something unique that you physically create. An idea alone doesn’t count. Copyright, patents, designs and trade marks are all types of intellectual property protection. You get some types of protection automatically, others you have to apply for.

At the point when startup’s come to us, we’re keen to advise registering their trademark so when we drive the concept to scale rapidly, their brand becomes a household name and is protected.

Intellectual property can have more than one owner, belong to people or businesses and be sold or transferred.

Having the right type of intellectual property protection helps you to stop people stealing or copying the names of your products or brands, your inventions, the design or look of your products.

Trademarking your product
When you register your trade mark, you’ll be immediately able to take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission. You must include the ® symbol next to your brand – to show that it’s yours and warn others against using it.

How you go about getting it
It costs circa £300 to register a trademark in the UK, the more classes of category your product covers, the more expensive it costs to protect. Your trademark is then protected for ten years upon which time you’ll need to renew it and have the opportunity to do so indefinitely. Set a note for the reminder and don’t forget it!

Your trade mark must be unique. It can include a combination of words, colours, sounds and logos and must not be offensive or too common and non-distinct.

You also need to bear in mind that the above simply pertains to the United Kingdom, if you want to go ahead and trademark your concept against copy artists abroad you’ll have to apply for trademark protection in specific countries around the world. This is something to take expert advice on doing and we’ll consider this with you if you make it past the investor panel.

Check out the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s website, under the Madrid agreement you can use their calculator to estimate trademark fees across participating countries.

Keen to know more generally and get clued up before our course? We like you already … check out the government’s own mini course ‘Equip’ so you can begin to get up to speed with the concept of intellectual property and learn how to protect your concepts.