When you set up a technological company in Great Britain, you should protect your intellectual property rights because this business is connected to creating different IP objects. Since competitors are usually interested in taking advantage of new technological decisions, you have to be prepared to defend the interests of your business. In this article, we provide information about some aspects of IP protection in the UK which have high importance for businesspeople if they want to minimise their risks.
IP ownership in the UK and its protection
A technological startup's intellectual property is usually the core and the most valuable asset for this kind of business. It is expedient for businesspeople to know how to estimate created IP objects and use this value to ensure business development. At the same time, some business people focus on launching and developing technological startups but also need to remember to protect their IP in Great Britain.
Below we offer brief information about a technological startup's main types of intellectual property objects.
Let us take an example to make the explanation more practical. Suppose you plan to register a technological company in the UK and develop web platforms for specific purposes. In such projects, one creates the unique software code for every web page, web-page design and other elements that form the product's external and internal side. According to the UK Copyright Law, software code is considered a literary heritage. In contrast, design is viewed as a work of art. All of the objects mentioned above have a copyright on them.
Original artwork is protected by copyright, and third parties are prohibited from copying these items. This protection has time limits. Usually, it is the author's lifetime plus 70 years from the end of the calendar year when the author (creator of the IP object) dies.
Note that copyright protection does not cover such an object as an ''Idea". It means that legislation does not give you the instruments to prevent third parties from using the idea at the foundation of the web platform you created for specific purposes. You can restrict the copying of the software code part, your design created for your platform and devices.
Protection of copyright in Great Britain allows you to protect the form of expression of your idea but not the idea itself.
The design of your invention, for example, some portable devices, can be protected with the rights of the industrial sample. Requests on the industrial sample in Great Britain protect the device's new (original) design and appearance. Rights on the design appear automatically when the design is created. Still, only when you register your Intellectual property in the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) do you get much more confidence because you can fully enjoy the UK IP legal protection mechanisms.
Non-registered pieces, depending on the circumstances of their creation and exploitation of intellectual property objects, restrict the third parties from copying this object for 10 or 15 years from its creation. Note, if the item is registered in the IPO, then for 25 years, third parties have no right to copy this object. Suppose you would like to write your request for an industrial sample registration in Great Britain. In that case, you can apply for a consultation with our IQ Decision profile experts, who will provide you with a consultation about intellectual property matters.
Registration of trademarks in the UK allows keeping the right to the company's unique brand name and logo. Suppose the application for trademark registration in the UK is approved. The third parties are not allowed to use an identical or similar brand name or a logo concerning goods and services for which this trade mark was registered. It will give you clear protection against copycat brands and your competitors.
Who owns the rights to intellectual property under British law?
When objects of intellectual property are elaborated by one person, it can be a company founder; for example, by British law, this person is a creator of the IP and is the right holder of created objects. As a result, none of the created IP objects in the course of the company's activity actually belong to the company.
As we already mentioned, the critical value of the technology startup is its IP objects. When you involve the investment into the business in Great Britain and in the course of Due Diligence of a British company which takes place before any investment would enter the project, it is required that the company would have documentary confirmed ownership of all key IP objects which are used in the business.
It is possible to do that if you know the procedure. When you onboard personnel involved in the creation of IP objects, you should plainly specify in the agreement that all IP objects created during the work of this expert in the company belong to the company. This agreement is to be concluded with the legal entity. If the founder owns the IP of the startup in the UK, it is worth transferring ownership rights to IP rights to the company directly. It can be accomplished through the transfer of ownership rights. In this document, all property rights on the IP should be transferred.
To protect your intellectual property in the UK, ensure you fulfilled all required formal steps. If you asked a third party to create software code, then under the UK law on IP, the copyright belongs to the creator of this object. The company has to take measures to ensure that 100% of the ownership is transferred by signing an agreement with the person who created the software code. Usually, such transfer of the property right is done on a paid basis because creators may not be willing to give up their rights free of charge. When you decide to involve the consultant in your project, ensure that you conclude the consultation agreement at the beginning of your cooperation. This document has precise wording stating that all IP objects created during this cooperation belong to the company.
In this article, we provided information about IP protection and procedures that would help you protect intellectual Property in Great Britain. Duly registered IP property rights give additional protective leverages, which can be applied in the cases of unsanctioned copying and utilisation of the IP by third parties. However, novice businesspeople and creators of startups should also make sure that they refrain from copying somebody else's IP, for example, if this IP belongs to their consultant because there was no preliminary signed agreement which would cover such issues. Otherwise, you and your company might be held accountable for violating the right holder's IP rights.
If you are interested in getting a consultation about matters related to the IP in Great Britain, don't hesitate to contact our experts using the contact form below. Experts of IQ decision UK can provide consulting support on all stages of IP registration in Great Britain.