Jean-Paul da Costa Partner
+44 (0) 20 7478 9010
Our Intellectual Property Lawyers work with young developing businesses to established multinationals, from innovative disruptors to major retailers, manufacturers and service companies, both public and private. We work closely with our Corporate & Commercial team, so we’re up to speed with the latest industry developments. Our specialist Intellectual property solicitors will get to know your business and its challenges, to give you appropriate, informed advice.
+44 (0) 20 7478 9010
+44 (0) 1727 738914
+44 (0) 1727 738937
Talk to us about any aspect of intellectual property law, including trademarks and branding:
While copyright in the UK should automatically belong to the creator of the work, you shouldn’t necessarily assume you’re protected. We advise many individuals and organisations on copyright issues; for example, authors, publishers, designers, musicians, photographers, web designers, software companies and others.
You might be surprised how often designs are not properly safeguarded, despite all the work that goes into creating them. We will advise you on the most effective way to register, license and protect your registered designs.
Obtaining and protecting Patents are complex so having the right advice is essential. We can advise you if your invention or process can be patented, apply for patents and license them worldwide, and prosecute if your patent is infringed.
A trademark distinguishes your goods or services from your competitors’. Trademarks, logos and brands are often valuable business assets, allowing products to command a premium price. Registered trademarks can include:
Registering a trademark gives the owner certain monopoly rights to the mark and prevents others from using a mark that is the same or similar. This is particularly important with the internet; a registered trademark enables the owner to stop others emulating their brand by registering similar domains and creating copycat websites. This is much more effective than common law protections such as “passing off”.
A registered trademark also safeguards against counterfeit goods, giving trading standards officers and the police statutory powers to seize fake goods that improperly take advantage of registered trademarks.
Trademarks are registered in particular categories or “classes” of goods and services. It’s important you register your trademark in the correct category. Trademarks are also territorial; they need to be registered in each jurisdiction where you want the benefits of registration.
Design rights cover the shape or appearance of something – not just three-dimensional objects such as furniture, packaging and equipment, but also textile designs, clothing, logos, sculptures and many other product designs.
Like trademarks, there are some limited legal protections for unregistered designs. In the UK, if an unregistered design is new and original when created, it benefits from protection over the shape of products, but not the surface decoration. This can last for up to 15 years, but only protects against copying and does not cover designs that are independently created.
Registration gives a design the best possible protection. Registered Designs can currently be registered under just the UK registered design scheme or as a Registered Community Design to cover all EU member states plus the UK. Once a design is registered the owner is protected for up to 25 years, subject to renewal every five years.
We’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you register, license, and enforce your design rights.
Patents must embody an idea not previously known and must be capable of industrial application. The idea must actually work; you can’t register a patent for something fanciful like time travel.
Patents are the most complex area of intellectual property protection, and patent registration can be time consuming and costly, making it essential to obtain good advice from the outset.
A patent gives the owner the right to exclusively use an invention, and either license others or prevent them from using it in any country where the patent is registered. As with other forms of registered IP, patents can be registered in a single or multiple countries.
Patent rights can last for up to 20 years but can take many years to register. We work with patent agents worldwide to register and enforce patents nationally and internationally.
Our intellectual property lawyers support you with the whole range of aspects related to IP, including:
There are three main ways to register a trademark:
Once you’ve obtained a registered brand for your trademark in a jurisdiction, you can use the ® symbol to tell people your mark is registered. Until then you can use the TM symbol to show you consider the mark to be commercially valuable and connected with your business, but that it has not yet been registered. It’s illegal in many countries, including the UK, to use the ® symbol with a trademark that has not yet been registered.
Our Intellectual property lawyers can guide you through this complex area and help you register and licence your trademarks and brands across the world. We can also help you acquire the right to use someone else’s trademarks as part of your business.
You may have to prevent other businesses from trying to emulate your business, copy your trademarks, or pass themselves off as your business. We have a proven track record of tackling trademark infringement and enforcing trademark owners’ rights.
Copyright is a crucial intellectual property right, covering:
Unlike other types of IP that need to be official registered to be protected, in the UK copyright arises automatically whenever you create an original work that falls within the scope of copyright law.
Normally copyright will belong to the creator, but not always. When a business is commissioning or being commissioned to create a copyright work, it’s important to clarify with the other party who will own the copyright. For example, work created by an employee will usually belong to their employer, whilst work created by a contractor or consultant usually won’t. Copyright can be shared when a group of people work collaboratively, which can make exploiting individual rights complex.
Copyright provides powerful protection but are some areas it doesn’t cover. It’s worth noting that copyright provides protection for the way an idea or artistic work is expressed, but does not protect the idea itself – protecting commercial ideas is where patents come in. Likewise, copyright does not protect business names; that’s what registered trademarks are for.
How long copyright protection lasts depends on the type of work involved. Literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works are protected for 70 years from the end of the creator’s lifetime. Sound, film and broadcast recordings are protected for 50 years, and typographical arrangements are protected for 25 years.
Since copyright gives the owner certain exclusive legal rights to exploit a creative work, those rights can be licensed to third parties. They can also be infringed by unauthorised use and dealing effectively with copyright infringement is vital for any business. It’s essential that licensing copyright is done properly. We will take a commercial and pragmatic approach and guide you through all the issues of copyright licensing and infringement.
Authors often establish their rights of creation by depositing a manuscript or copy of a work with us, so they can prove their rights as creator if this is ever challenged. Although not strictly necessary, it’s also good practice to place the © symbol on any copyright work together with the creator’s name and the year of creation.
Speak to our Intellectual property lawyers today.
Now you know what our intellectual property lawyers do, you’ll want to know how well we do it