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Protect Your Uniqueness - Understanding Intellectual Property

For any business, Intellectual Property Protecting (IP) is one of the most valuable assets you will own. According to The Design Council, if you produce a product your IP could account for over 70% per cent of your business’ overall value. Therefore it is vital you do everything you can to protect the ideas, brands and designs you create from copycats and infringers

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Written by:
Maggie Hajkowska

We know IP is probably not something you wake up wanting to discuss! It may seem a bit daunting. You may think it’s just another expense you could do without. And let me assure you, I completely understand that speaking to a lawyer isn’t many people’s idea of fun! The only thing is, without the proper protection in place your business is at risk.

No matter what your industry if you are involved in designing something, physical or virtual, you need to look at how best to protect the work you are creating (for either yourself or your clients). This is not only to make sure others don’t misuse your work for their own commercial benefit but also to maximise its commercial value for you.

Deciding what the best possible IP protection is will depend on a combination of the type of business you are, what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there. However, we’d like to share some more general tips that we know will help you move forward much more safely.

Consider your uniqueness

Every business has some form of Intellectual Property. It could be in what you’ve done, what you do or how you do it, but it will always be unique to you so needs to be protected. Your first step should be to speak to someone who understands IP and, more importantly, how IP is applied to and used by creative businesses.

Prevention is always better than cure

Your IP must be an integral part of your business plan because your IP is an integral part of your business. Please don’t wait until you are up and running before tackling your IP. This leaves a potentially damaging window for less scrupulous competitors to climb in and take/use/copy what’s yours. Yes, there will be a cost involved but let me assure you, the cost of putting things in place will be a fraction of the cost of putting things rights further down the line.

A trademark will help you protect your name, brand and image

Simply registering your name at Companies House won’t stop others using the same or similar name, something that could impact on your reputation, market share, revenue and progress. A trademark will provide much more effective protection.

Map protection to ownership to opportunity

Within the creative industries or when you are creating a unique product, there are a lot of times when you will be providing your work for others to use. You need to understand what you own and make sure the necessary agreements are in place (for example the licence to use your work or a transfer of copyright) so that your work is used without you losing control of it.

Take Action

At Potter Clarkson we are offering all Summit Creative clients a free consultation call to help make the process of protecting your IP as simple as possible for you. During the call we will help you work out how you can make the best (and most commercial) use of your intellectual property. We’ll cover,

• Identifying the IP you have • Working out the most effective ways to protect and leverage your IP • Defining if this IP is yours or your clients’ • Making sure you are clear to use a particular brand or name • Ensuring you protect your ideas from copying and competitors • Safeguarding your ideas during pitches • Determining what other contracts, licences and legal agreements you need

Book your call and get protected today - Edwina.Fitzhugh@potterclarkson.com

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