Use UK Intellectual Property Law to Protect Your Bright Ideas
Eureka! Remember Archimedes in his bath? While the concept of having a bright idea is centuries old, the thought that it could have legal protection is relatively new. The words “intellectual property” were not coined until the 19th century, though the legal concept of UK copyright dates from the 1710 Statute of Anne, with patent law going back to an even earlier statute of 1623.
The idea of intellectual property law is that an individual who has created something should be able to benefit from it, thus giving people an incentive to invest time in developing new ideas. The term ‘intellectual property’ is broad-ranging, covering creations from art and design, music and literary works, phrases and symbols, photographs, sound and vision recordings to computer software – called “creations of the mind”.
According to one economic study, intangible assets account for around two thirds of the value of big companies in the Western economies, underlining the importance of protecting those assets against being copied, stolen or lost. The international importance of protecting ideas was recognised in 1967, when the World Intellectual Property Organisation was created as an agency of the United Nations.
Intellectual property rights are generally usually conferred on “non-rival goods” – that is something that can be used or enjoyed by many people at the same time, such as a piece of music. In contrast, “rival goods” can only be used by one person at a time – think of a shirt, for example.
In the UK, there are a few different legal ways that you can protect your intellectual property – copyright, trademark and patent laws. For anyone developing new ideas or products, it is important that you consider from the very beginning how you can protect your work. Even people that you work with could potentially copy your developments, so one of the first things to think about should be setting up non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements.
Any approach towards protecting your UK Intellectual Property Rights will inevitably require the services of an appropriately experienced legal advisor. Hiring a suitably qualified UK IP lawyer will help you gain effective legal protection that is up to date with the most recent developments in the world of intellectual property case law. In today’s world of instant communication, where ideas can run round the globe in seconds, the argument for taking early steps to protect your ideas has never been stronger.