Intellectual Property

Copyright: Applies to literacy, artistic creations and web content such as computer programs and source codes.(E.g Books, recipes, newspaper headlines, source codes, graphics, photographs, sound, music, films, animation and etc.) The Copyright duration is not forever – for instance an author of a novel, their work is protected for all the author’s life plus 70 years after. After the death of the creator, the work will then pass on to their living relatives – known as ‘right holders’ they have a right under the copyright law to give permission or to refuse it towards certain areas of the work such as broadcasting and turning publications into tv / film adaptions. The creator (and the right holders) also can man how they want their work ‘copied’ if it is copied – e.g in the case of a racist parody made of a comic illustration, the author had a right/ and can act on sueing that person for copying his work in a light he did not approve of – he may not want to be associated with the racist joke that was made from his artwork. The copyright is created as soon as the creator has made their work – they own their copyright to their own work – this can be given away in a contract to employer or client (etc.)

Trademarks: Trademarks are company names, logos, product name, jiggles, colour, shape, words and sounds. Trademarks unlike copyright, lasts forever – however renewed payments may need to be made every ten years (in the UK). You need to register for a trademark. A trademark can give you protection and give a company / creator the right to take legal action against those which use the brand without permission such as counterfeiting. It is a criminal offense to state that your company name / logo etc is trademarked when it isn’t – (unlike any other IP right – where a fine or other settlement is made for infringement – the fraud of a trademark is the only one which can land you in jail.) Trademarks are a good way to create a brand identity which will get a business recognized – for instance the red sole of Louboutin shoes. It can also give the business more credit to clients. “TM” can be used for a company which means ‘not registered as a trademark’. However it is placed because this word needs time before it can be a trademark. For instance a sofa company used the word ‘Comfortable’ – which cannot be trademarked, the TM makes it appears like it is. They can trademark after it becomes associated with that company – it then can be created into a trademark. RTM is used to show that is is registered however more commonly seen as:  ®. This is placed to show the trademark and warn others against using the brand without consent.

Applying for a Trademark: Check that a similar trademark doesn’t already exist on the UKIPO website (intellectual Property database) – also research into other similar brands and logos / products that exist – as they could affect the application and prevent the trademarking of your future logo/ brand etc. You can ask the permission to a trademark holder similar to yours for a letter of consent (which should be used with the application.) Decide what should be trademarked. Pay the fee for the application (around £170) and submit what you wish to register – passing the application / pay for trademark. Can take up to 4 months to register. If you register a trademark in the UK , it will only be protected in the UK – there may be other IP’s or Trademarks that can may be suited better if a desire for a worldwide / EU trademark is required.

Patents: A patent doesn’t really apply to the creative industry (unless for a particular software and the creative concept an idea ) – a patent is used for completely original ideas – normally for inventions, products, and the process of a technical solution to a problem.  Getting a patent can take a long time and can be expensive (even more so if applying for an international Patent.) It generally takes around 3 – 4 years to patent (during this time the product or invention shouldn’t be make public because this could prevent it from being patented – it must stay original). A patent can last 20 years however it is recommended to seek advice from a patent attorney to have those 20 years. A patent will protect the invention or product and enable any legal action to take place if anyone tries to steal it, sells, distributed or anything similar against your permission.  A patent will only protect the product in the country which it was registered – there is an international patent available.

Design rights: The design right, like the copyright is automatically given to the creator – the right will protect the design for 15 years after it was created or 10 years after it is sold for the first time. This right is to ensure that no one will copy the design. Does’t just protect the outside of the design but also the inside of mass produced objects. Generally used for a product like a chair – makes sure that nothing is creates similar to layout and or arrangement of your design. To protect and claim this right you need proof of the design – therefore original sketchbooks, designs, prototypes anything which can be used to show that the design is your own. This can be kept by a solicitor or sent to yourself by unopened stamped dated post. You can sell or give the design right away.

Registered designs: The registered design right will be alot more creditable and easier for proof. Instead of keeping the original sketches and design this is registered and then all which will be needed to prove that the design is rightly yours, would be to give over the registration number. It also gives the creator up to 25 years of rights and protection. This right is used to provide protection for the appearance of a design, the physical shape, the decoration and the configuration.


N/A (2014) ‘Intellectual property and your work’, Wednesday 31st December [online] Avalible: (Accessed 29/05/2015)

Alexandrou, Andria (2013) ‘Trademarks in the UK: helpful tips’ Prime, N/A [Online] Avaliable: (Accessed 31/05/2015)

N/A (N/A) ‘What is Intellectual Property?’ WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization, N/A (Online) Avaliable: (Accessed 01/06/2015)

Notes taken from BRIFFA Ramsay Monime

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