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Intellectual Property

We are the West of England Combined Authority's Growth Hub. We provide free 360-degree business support for small and medium sized businesses in all sectors.

Talk to us today about finding new opportunities and growth avenues for your business.

 

 

What is Intellectual Property?

All businesses own or use intellectual property (IP) that needs to be protected. This includes your business name, logo, images, promotional material and even your website.

There have been changes to UK intellectual property law to ensure the smooth departure from EU IP systems.

Chat with us today about protecting your IP and making it work hard for your business growth ambitions.

What's the buzz about IP?

IP can include your business name, logo, website, technical innovation, software, images and the look of your products to name a few. These important assets, which often go unrecognised, can play an important role in the sustainability and growth of your business both domestically and internationally, and all businesses to protect their IP.

You need to be up to speed on the changes to UK IP law. Changes affect:

Why do I need to protect my IP?

IP protects your genuine business assets that are integral to the core services of your business and long-term viability.

In our digital age, you have no doubt benefitted from the internet, where products, services and marketing communications can reach vast audiences at relatively low costs - but this has also increased the chances of intellectual property theft. You're at risk of having your unique ideas, products or services infringed upon, which makes IP protection more important than ever.

No one else will check to see if your intellectual property has been infringed; it’s your responsibility to ensure that no one else is using your assets.

What does IP cover?

Designs

Designs – protects the overall look of a product including the colour, shape and texture. 

Patents

Patents protect new inventions; how they work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made. 

Trade marks

Trade marks protects brands, such as your business name or logo, and can consist of a word, phrase, picture or a combination of all these.

Copyright

Copyright protects written, dramatic, musical and artistic works including photos, recordings, software and databases. 

IP the basics - an explainer video

What's the impact on my business if I don't protect my IP?

Keep your ideas
When you have a great idea for a product or service, there will always be people who will want to duplicate your success and sell your ideas as their own. Depending on individual circumstances, you can use patents, trademarks or copyrights – all of which cover different areas of intellectual property. These can be used to prevent competitors or anyone else from using your ideas for their own profit without your consent. Read more about the forms of IP. IP protection applies to businesses of all sizes; even huge corporations have had their ideas infringed upon and have made multi-million pound lawsuits; just look at the on-going disputes between Apple and Samsung over their smartphones.

Protect business growth
As you're an SME, it’s very important to protect any unique products or services that you own as competitors can use your success to take away market share, resulting in slow growth or loss of revenue. Losing market share early on in a business’s development can be devastating and time consuming if trying to chase up the guilty party without any legal protection.

 

How can the Growth Hub help me with IP?

We'll walk you through IP and encourage you to:

  • Consider carefully where to disclose your designs to ensure they have adequate protection in their most important market;
  • If you export IP-protected goods on the secondary or parallel market, contact the rights holder in the EEA to see if you have permission to continue to parallel export.
  • Consider if you want exports to continue if you are a business that owns the IP rights for goods currently parallel exported from the UK to the EEA.

Our friendly team of Enterprise Advisors will guide you through the ins and outs of IP.

Top tips from the Intellectual Property Office

Get even more help with your IP from our partner the Intellectual Property Office

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the government body responsible for granting IP rights. Their business pages are full of guidance, case studies, events and information on where to access further support. Visit the site via this link.

Top IP tips for SMEs