When looking in from the outside the world of Intellectual Property may well feel overwhelming, and startups or individuals with limited experience of IP may consider leaving this until later.
However, launching your product and then seeking protection for it may cost you the chance to obtain several types of available rights. While copyright exists from the moment the work is created, if an invention is disclosed before a patent is filed protection will be unavailable in many jurisdictions!
It is therefore important to have a basic understanding of all of the disclosure details of a new project or product. Particularly as a relatively simple product may encompass the whole range of available rights.
To help you out the UKIPO provides several useful resources:
Firstly, there is the new IP Basics Guide which provides a summary of the various rights: Patents, Trade marks, Designs, Copyright and Trade secrets.
Secondly there is the IP Heath Check Tool which helps you identify what IP you have and how to protect it.
If you have used the above resources and want to take the next steps, or if you would like some expert input, please contact Boult Wade Tennant LLP for an initial no obligation conversation. You can find out more about our experts and their areas of expertise here.
Unlike the products they protect, IP assets cannot be seen or touched. So, it can be difficult for businesses to appreciate their true value. Like other forms of property, you can buy, sell and license IP. IP Rights can enable their owner to take action under civil law to try and stop others from replicating, using, importing or selling their creation.