How to protect your rights

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With many different and competing pressures facing SME businesses it can be easy to overlook the true value of the intellectual property held within your company.

Getting the right type of protection in place can help to deter would-be copycat rivals from stealing your business ideas as well as giving your company certain rights within the law.

In the UK, intellectual property can be protected in three ways: filing a patent, registering a trademark and registering your designs with the Intellectual Property Office. Each offers different types of protection and choosing the option that suits the individual needs of your business can help to save significant amounts of time and money.

Choosing the best solution to protect business is often not straightforward and rules which damage a patent application, may help to reinforce a trade mark application. For example, in the UK, you would not be able to obtain a valid patent if the invention has been publicly disclosed before filing the patent application. In contrast, proving that a trademark has been associated with your company for number of years can help you obtain a trademark registration.

Different rules can also apply when trading overseas. In the first instance it is always advisable to speak to an intellectual property expert who will be able to discuss the different options available to help protect your business and offer advice on the best course action for your company.

Howard Lock is a patent and trademark attorney and owner of Howard Lock Intellectual Property. To find out more about how Howard can help your business tel: 0114 218 0653 or email: info@howardlock.co.uk