What is Intellectual Property or 'IP'?
Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the mind that are accorded certain rights under Law.
This includes unregistered and registered rights. Unregistered rights include Copyright, Trade Secrets and unregistered Trademarks. Registered rights include Patents, Designs, Utility Models, Plant Variety Rights and Trademarks®
All IP rights are territorial which means they only have effect in one country or jurisdiction, although there are international agreements that confer reciprocal rights between member jurisdictions.
Why is IP Valuable?
Unlike production of physical goods, IP can be produced once and the revenue can be received every time that IP is used. Let's compare a book to paper, a book may be written once and revenue received for every book sold. In contrast, to generate more revenue from paper you must make more paper!
IP rights are tools used to add value to your business. IP can achieve this in a number of ways, including:
Protection of a competitive advantage - If your IP right covers a competitive advantage that you have then that IP right can enable you to protect it from others.
Attracting investment - Investors want to know that you've protected your IP and have IP assets that can generate revenue.
Sale of IP - IP rights can be sold just like physical property or any other asset.
Direct revenue - IP rights can generate direct revenue for your business through licensing or other agreements.
Deterrence to competitors - if you have and competitors who want to copy your IP, the IP rights can deter them from doing so.
Can have value even if business fails - if something bad happens and your business fails, you may still have valuable assets left in the IP rights.
On average IP makes up more than half the value of Fortune 500 Companies, and over 90% for many individual companies.
Types of IP
There are different types of IP, each with different aspects and covering different types of things.
Patents - give you the right to stop other people making, using or selling your invention. An invention is a novel and inventive product or process.
Designs - give you the right to stop other people making, using or selling something incorporating your design. A design registration is a novel 2D or 3D design applied to a product.
Trademarks - give you the right to stop others from using the same or confusingly similar trademarks. A trademark is a word, logo, slogan or other sign that is used in commerce for distinguishing your goods and services from others.
Copyright - provides you the right to stop someone else copying your artistic or literary creative work.
Plant Variety Rights - provide the right to stop others producing and selling the protected plant variety or fruit, seed, flowers from that variety.
See our blog for case studies and stories about IP
There's a lot to Intellectual Property so if you have any questions, please make contact and we'll see if we can help.