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

Designs

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

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

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

What is a trade mark?

Trade marks are valuable business assets - what are they and how can you get one?

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.

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

Getting a trade mark

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

UK trade marks

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

EU trade marks

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

International trade marks

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

CITMA blog

Why Campbell’s succeeded where McDonald’s failed

The differing recent fortunes of Campbell’s and McDonald’s trade marks highlight the need for businesses to document use of trade marks, as Chartered Trade Mark Attorney Graeme Murray explains.

19th Feb 2019 | Blog

The vape escape: how brand owners can fight back

Red Bull, Ferrara Candy Co. and Wrigley are amongst the hundreds of food and drink brand names to have been used by vaping companies. These brand owners are fighting back.

6th Feb 2019 | Blog

Copyright in gaming — why is everyone suing Fortnite?

The incredible success of gaming sensation Fortnite has sparked a number of high-profile legal battles over the copyright of elements of the game, as Akber Ahmed explains.

31st Jan 2019 | Blog

How McDonald’s lost its Big Mac trade mark

How did Irish burger chain Supermac’s manage to get the Big Mac trade mark cancelled across the EU? The answer lies in the lack of evidence presented by McDonald’s as Daniel Bailey explains.

22nd Jan 2019 | Blog
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