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Ken Targett

Hampshire, United Kingdom

Intellectual

Property

Practice

Patents
Registered Designs
Design Right
Topography Right
Copyright
Trade Marks

Overview of Intellectual Property

The term Intellectual Property encompasses the following various forms of protection that are available to stop unfair competition.

Patents. If somebody makes a inventive technological advance, they can apply to patent it, and if successful they can use the patent to prevent unauthorised commercial exploitation of their technological advance, whether by copying or otherwise. 

Registered Designs. If somebody designs a new aesthetic industrial product, they can apply to register the design, and if successful they can use the registered design to prevent unauthorised commercial exploitation of the design, whether by copying or otherwise.

Design Right. If somebody designs a new industrial product, whether aesthetic or not, design right may well subsist automatically in the shape or configuration of the product, and they can use the design right, without any requirement for registration, to prevent unauthorised copying of the design.

Topography Right. If somebody creates an original topography for a semiconductor chip, topography right may well subsist automatically in the topography, and they can use the topography right, without any requirement for registration, to prevent unauthorised commercial exploitation of products incorporating the topography.

Copyright. If somebody creates an original literary work (including a computer program), dramatic work, musical works or artistic work (including a technical drawing), copyright may well subsist automatically in the work, and they can use the copyright, without any requirement for registration, to prevent unauthorised copying of the work. Other forms of copyright relate to sound recordings, films, broadcasts and cable programmes, and typographical arrangements of published editions.

Plant Breeders' Rights: If somebody breeds, discovers or develops a new plant variety, they can apply for plant breeders’ rights, and if successful they can use their rights to prevent unauthorised commercialisation of the plant variety.

Secrecy: If somebody has developed a new industrial process which can be kept secret, or a new product which cannot be reverse-engineered, they can keep the product or process secret while commercialising it, and they may be able to use the law of contract or the law relating to breach of confidence to take action against somebody who divulges the secret.

Trade Marks:. If somebody adopts a mark which is capable of distinguishing their goods or services from those of others, they can apply to register the mark, and if successful they can use the registered trade mark to prevent unauthorised use by others of the mark and similar marks for those and similar goods/services.

Passing Off: If somebody has built up a reputation in a mark or get-up, they can, without registration, use the law of passing-off to stop others from using the mark or get-up to trade off their reputation.

The remainder of this guide is concerned with intellectual property mainly from a British perspective.