Intellectual Property

Intellectual property rights protect the products of ideas. For instance, brand names, services, products, designs, words, inventions, and other things can be protected by intellectual property rights, by means of patents, trademarks, and copyrights.


This form of protection is for company and product trademarks. To be able to register a trademark it must be unique and truthful. It can’t be offensive or descriptive of the product. For instance, if the product is a brand of safety razors, the trademark can’t contain the words safety or razor, or include the shape or picture of a razor.

Trademarks are applied for at the Intellectual Property Office. To apply you must describe what you want to have trademarked, the trademark you want to use, and other details. Trademark applications can be challenged if your trademark is too similar to one that already exists.


Design refers to what a product looks like, in terms of shape, decoration, and other details of appearance. Registering a design is similar to registering a trademark, in that you must supply details of the design and supporting documentation. Applications are submitted to the Intellectual Property Office, reviewed, and either registered or rejected. If your application is rejected you have a two-month window in which to lodge an appeal.


Patents are used to protect inventions. Once an invention is patented, you have the right to take legal action if someone else uses your invention without getting your permission first. To qualify for a patent an invention must be a true innovation, not just an existing item or process that has been modified. Applying for a patent is expensive— costing around £4,000—and can take several years.


Copyright applies automatically to anything that is written, printed, or recorded, which means the person who creates the work has the right to be recognised as its creator. This applies to books, plays, poems, songs, and other works, and means nobody can republish the work without express permission of the owner. Copyright protection is limited, and expires after a certain period of time. For instance, the copyright of written works, sound recordings and songs, and films, expires 70 years after the death of the copyright holder.

Intellectual Property Resources

wikipedia: intellectual property - Lots more information on this on wikipedia.


If any students wish to contribute to this section or add relevant subsections related to intellectual property and the processes involved please do so through the university portal by updating Resource No.00032.