The Triplets of Intellectual Property

Intellectual property or IP for short is the basis of literally any business – it covers everything from yours or your employers business name and logo, to the marketing material you create and the plans you draw up

Knowing the ins and outs of IP is incredibly important for growing and thriving businesses. Think about it – understand the fundamentals, how do you deal with those who might end up coming along and copying your content?! 

There are 3 main areas of IP you need to know about, sometimes known as ‘the Triples of IP’, they are copyright, trademarks and patents. 

So what are they?

Copyright Protection

  • In the UK this automatically exists as soon as you create a piece of copyrightable work whether it be a construction plan, a marketing poster or a presentation. i.e. something you write, videos, software coding etc.
  • Different in the US, where there is a register (kind of like trademarks here)
  • Although this protection exists straight away, there is a catch – it’s your responsibility to ‘tell the world’, to make sure you’re fully protected
  • This mostly comes down to your contracts, website and disclaimers.
  • Make sure you have the right wording that tells the world that specific piece of copyright is owned by YOU
  • You don’t want to accidentally transfer ownership/let others use it when you don’t want them to
  • It's also important to have Non-Disclosure agreements  (NDAs) in place if needed to fully protect your copyright

Trademark Protection

  • This protects your branding, i.e. your business/brand name, product name, slogan or logo/brand images
  • You Register in certain places, like the UK, US or EU
  • Unlike copyright, you need to register your trademark
  • The trademarking process (wherever you register) will take a few months, so start ASAP
  • You ‘ll want to do this before growing and scaling your business, otherwise you risk accidentally infringing (copying) someone else’s mark, or someone ‘stealing’ your brand
  • Benefits – ownership of your marks, protection from copycats, recourse if someone copies you, reputation building, brand recognition, saves money in the long run

Patent Protection

  • There to essentially protect your inventions - essentially things that are yet to exist
  • It's pretty rare to come by to be completely honest
  • You need to meet certain criteria to be granted a patent
  • It's expensive and difficult to obtain
  • The process is incredibly lengthy
  • You need a specialist lawyer to deal with them
  • It's a pretty big commitment to register a patent

To conclude

Make sure you have a basic understanding of IP. You want your brand to be bulletprood, so you can scale and grow in the safest way possible!