Intellectual Property Law
Rights That Protect Your Creativity
Intellectual Property (IP) is anything that you have created and could be your/ your business’s most valuable asset. IP Rights are the legal form that protect your creative work: your brand name, inventions, innovations, designs, confidential information, trade secrets and any other creative content produced by you or your business. These legal forms are patents, copyrights, trade marks and design rights, amongst others. Your brand and your creative work are what distinguish you from others in the market and helps to cultivate customer/client loyalty.
We believe in a two-pronged approach to Intellectual Property in general which is: (a) Protecting your IP so that it is not ‘stolen’ by others. (b) Commercialising/Leveraging your IP to generate revenue, giving you a competitive edge in the market.
Relevant clauses, ensuring the protection of IP and safeguarding IP ownership are incorporated in the commercial contracts we draft for our clients.
A. Protecting your Intellectual Property so that it is not ‘stolen’ by others
In order to help you achieve this, we provide guidance on the protection of the following:
- Trade Marks: i.e. your brand name, logo, trading style or any feature that distinguishes you from others in the market. At The DLC, we work with you to understand your business goals in order to help you identify what a good trade mark is and how it can be safeguarded both now and in the future.
- Copyright: i.e. your creativity if you have authored books or any kind of creative content, written scripts or songs, composed music, made videos, drawings, paintings or any other kind of artwork.
- Design rights: for any unique and innovative designs applied to your product.
- Protection of your confidential information.
B. Leveraging/Commercialising your Intellectual Property to generate revenue
Towards this we provide guidance on the assignment and licensing of your Intellectual Property and protecting your confidential information if you plan on collaborating with third parties. We help you put in place the following documents:
- IP ownership agreements
- IP/Trade Mark licensing agreements
- IP/Trade Mark assignments
- Franchise Agreements
- Non-disclosure Agreements/Confidentiality Agreements
Our Personal Approach
At The DLC we go above and beyond what is expected from a traditional law firm. We are an approachable and personable team that works hard to meet the needs of our clients in order to help achieve their goals. When you work with us, we grow, we succeed and we progress together.
What are the different types of IP a business may own?
- Patents– A business or an individual may own patent rights over inventions and innovations. Certain criteria must be fulfilled in order for a patent to be granted.
- Trade Marks– A trade mark is essential as it helps distinguish a business from others in the market. Conventionally a business can register word marks, logos, numbers, pictures, colour combinations and/or a combination of all of the above as its trade mark.
- Copyright– Copyright protects the original expression of an idea. It is granted for literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work while related rights also protect audio-visual works and sound-recordings.
- Design Rights– Design rights, whether registered or unregistered protect the novel features that determine the appearance of a product. Design rights can be obtained for two-dimensional or three-dimensional designs
- Confidential Information and Trade Secrets– Confidential Information is information (i) that is not in the public domain, (ii) that may provide the business with an economic advantage and (iii) is information to maintain the confidentiality/secrecy of which the business takes reasonable efforts.
- Miscellaneous– A business may also apply for topography rights if it manufactures or designs integrated circuits. Plant Variety Rights are also available to those who develop and grow different varieties of plants.
Are Intellectual Property Rights available for a limited period of time?
Intellectual Property protection is time-bound. For example, in the UK:
- Patent protection is granted for 20 years from the date of filing the patent application, provided that the annual renewal fees are paid.
- Trade mark protection can last infinitely, provided it is renewed every 10 years. A trade ark that hasn’t been used for 5 years from the date of registration may be revoked.
- The length of copyright protection depends on the nature of the subject-matter. Copyright protection in the UK for literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work lasts for 70 years after the author’s death
- Registered design right in the UK provides protection for up to 25 years.
How can a business protect its IP?
You must bear in mind that Intellectual Property rights are territorial in nature. It means that if you’ve registered your trade mark in the UK, it does not mean that it enjoys trade mark protection in the United States of America. Therefore, in order to maximise protection, a business must apply for the protection/registration of its Intellectual Property in every territory in which it conducts business.
Applications for the protection of IP can be made at the relevant IP offices.