Commercial disputes come in all shapes and sizes, from contract and property disputes, mergers, acquisitions and litigation to debt collection, employment issues, licensing and intellectual property.
The issue of intellectual property can be a confusing one. Every business will own some form of intellectual property and protecting this is imperative.
What is intellectual property?
According to the Intellectual Property Office, intellectual property is something unique that you physically create – an idea alone is not intellectual property. They give the example of a book – an idea for a book is not intellectual property, but the words you’ve written are. Other examples are:
- the names of your products or brands
- your inventions
- the design or look of your products
- things you write, make or produce
Copyright, patents, designs and trade marks are all types of intellectual property protection. By having the right type of protection you can stop people stealing or copying your work, reducing the risk of commercial dispute and the need for legal action. A commercial litigation solicitor can help advise you on intellectual property ownership and the appropriate type of protection.
Intellectual property ownership
Again, the Intellectual Property Office tells us you own intellectual property if you:
- created it (and it meets the requirements for copyright, a patent or a design)
- bought intellectual property rights from the creator or a previous owner
- have a brand that could be a trade mark, eg a well-known product name
Interestingly, intellectual property can have more than one owner, belong to people or businesses and be sold or transferred. If you are employed and created something as part of your job, you usually won’t own the intellectual property to this piece of work. This will belong to your employer. Exceptions might exist if you are a freelance worker, depending on your contact agreement and terms & conditions. If a business is bought or sold, intellectual property ownership can also be sold or transferred as part of that exchange.
If you have a dispute about your intellectual property, please speak one of our commercial litigation solicitors. They are specialist intellectual property dispute resolution and litigation solicitors. They can assist you pursuing or defending a claim in matters relating to trademarks, trade marks overseas, patents, copyright,
If you feel your intellectual property rights have been infringed and need some legal advice then please speak to Vijay Srivastava or Shalish Mehta, our civil and commercial litigation solicitors. Please call us on 0161 785 3534.
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