Types of intellectual property

Trade marks

A trade mark can be any sign that identifies you as the owner of your goods or services to make it clear they belong to you. 

Many things can be registered as a trade mark -  names and logos are the most common. 

Click here to find out more about trade marks


A registered design right protects the look of an item, not the functional aspects of its appearance or how it works.

The design could be a two-dimensional image – such as a logo, pattern or icon. Or it can be a three-dimensional physical object.

Click here to find out more about designs 


Patents protect inventions from being used or sold without the owner’s permission.

A patent gives you a monopoly right to take legal action to stop any competition to your invention for a limited period, normally 20 years.

Click here to find out more about patents


Copyright is an automatic intellectual property right that protects original works from being copied without the permission of the creator or licence holder. 

Sound recordings, films, broadcasts and original artistic, musical, dramatic and literary works are all things that can be protected by copyright. 

Click here to find out more about copyright

Trade secrets

A trade secret is can be any confidential business information which provides an organisation with a competitive edge. They are often used when an invention is not eligible for a patent or if the inventor does not wish to disclose the ‘secret’ publicly, which a patent requires you to do. 

Click here to find out more about trade secrets

Geographical indications

A GI designates that a product is of a certain nature, quality and reputation linked to where they are made, or characteristics linked to that place. 

To be a GI a sign or word must indicate a product as coming from a certain location and the reputation for quality that comes from that place. 

Click here to find out more about geographical indications

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What is a trade mark?

Learn why trade marks are valuable business assets.


What is a design?

Protecting the appearance of a product with a registered design will help you to stop others from selling something that looks similar.


What is copyright?

Copyright is an automatic intellectual property right that protects original works from being copied without permission.

Scotch whisky

What is a geographical indication?

Some products, often food and drink, are synonymous with certain locations for their quality - these can be protected.

How to get a trade mark

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Getting a trade mark

How can you get a trade mark - we take you through the process step-by-step.

Intellectual Property Office IPO

UK trade marks

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the government body who grant trade mark and design registrations in the UK.

European Union EU flag

EU trade marks

Registering a trade mark or design at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) gives protection in all EU member states.

Trade mark target

International trade marks

You can file trade marks in over 100 countries via the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on one application.

CITMA blog


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