Intellectual property

What is intellectual property?

British Library IP Centre — If you have an invention or idea, it’s important that you understand your intellectual property and how to exploit it. There are four main types: patents, trademarks, copyright and registered designs.

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) — Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. IP is protected in law by, for example, patentscopyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.

Azrights: What is intellectual property and why does it matter to you? — IP is the collective name for the rights that protect creativity, imagination and ideas. It’s very wide ranging and the rules are often complex. Trademarks identify your products or services, secure exclusive rights over the name of your business and contain the value of your brand. With the right name you can stop competitors stealing business away from you. Copyright is another essential intellectual property right. Every business uses copyright works because every business is likely to have a logo, website, brochures, photographs, packaging, software etc. Design protection is another type of IP right which is often overlooked. However, it is a powerful tool for protecting your market share and preventing competitors from copying your ideas.

Public sector information

GOV.UK provides extensive information on Patents, trademarks, copyright and designs, including a structured set of topic pages on Intellectual property.

The Intellectual Property Office provides information on patents, trade marks, copyright and designs and also provides an overview of intellectual property, designed for members of the public as well as patent experts.