Home Business Why Every Entrepreneur Should Understand Intellectual Property

Why Every Entrepreneur Should Understand Intellectual Property

by Olufisayo
Intellectual Property

As an entrepreneur, it’s vital that you understand how to protect your original works and brand. Below we’ll be exploring the best ways to do this…

If you’re a business owner, it’s very important to be aware of the different types of intellectual property (IP) and how they can be used to protect your company. IP can be used to describe a broad range of inventions, products, and services. This can include things like your product designs, brand name, and logo.

While it’s important to get in touch with intellectual property dispute solicitors to gain a comprehensive understanding of how IP works, below we’re going to give you an easy-to-read explanation of how different types of IP can be of value to you as an entrepreneur.


A trademark is any name, symbol, word, or device used to indicate the source of goods or services. They can be used to protect your company name or product name, images, symbols, logos, slogans, colours, and product designs.

In the UK, you can register a trademark for the fee of £170 and it will last ten years. When those ten years are up you must renew it.

With a trademark, you’ll be able to take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission – this can include counterfeits and fakes. You’ll also be able to sell and license your brand, as well as put the ® icon next to your products. This will deter others from using your brand without permission.

There are also a number of things you cannot trademark. This includes the following:

  • You cannot register your trademark if it is the same, or similar to, a trademark of another business that sells the same products.
  • It cannot be misleading or offensive.
  • Be too common, generic or non-distinctive.
  • Make use of national flags, official emblems or hallmarks if you do not have permission to do so.

To trademark your goods or services you must send your details over to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in the post. There, they will assess whether

your trademark is not too similar, or the same as, any existing trademarks. When it’s got the green light, the IPO will publish details of your application in the journal, in case anyone wanted to oppose it.


Copyrights are a set of exclusive rights given to an individual or business that has created a literary or artistic work. This can include databases, web design, software and photographs.

These rights protect your work and stop others from using it without your permission. Copyright also gives the owner the exclusive right to distribute copies of the work to the public, as well as display or perform the work publicly.

In the UK, you do not have to apply for copyright. Instead, you get protection automatically. You also have the choice to mark your work with the copyright icon ©, as well as the year of creation and your name.


A patent gives the inventor exclusive rights to stop others from making, using, or selling the claimed invention for a maximum period of20 years. In the UK, you can apply for a patent through the IPO. The process will cost at least £310 if you complete it.

It’s also advisable to hire a solicitor to help, as this will most likely mean your application has a higher chance of being approved. If the IPO decide your invention is patentable, you will typically receive the patent four years after your application – although sometimes it may be awarded sooner.

To obtain a patent, your invention must have a very high level of originality and it must not have been made publicly available anywhere in the world. It also has to be something that can be used or made, for instance, a product, technical process or method of doing something. In addition to this, you must also disclose the “recipe” for your invention to the public.


Lastly, a design registration helps protect the appearance, shape and configuration of a product. A registered design in the UK gives the owner exclusive right to sell, use, import and export any product embodying the design.

Registering the design ultimately means it’s easier to prove that the design is legally yours and that you created it. It also means that you can take action against anyone who tries to copy your design or use it without your permission.

To register in the UK, it costs from £50 for one design to £150 for up to 50. The registration will last up to five years and, after that point, you must reregister the design to keep it protected.

Understanding Intellectual Property

For many businesses and individuals, IP means a lot more than just protecting an idea or concept. It also shields genuine business assets that may be intrinsic to the company’s long-term growth and revenue.

If you’re just starting out as a small business, there can be a lot of competitors. Therefore, it’s very important to protect your unique inventions and products.

Overall, IP can help protect your innovative goods and services by providing you with the exclusive rights to take legal action against anyone that uses or copies your invention without permission. Having this protection can help distinguish your business from competitors as well as increase the value and visibility of your brand.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult an IP lawyer/solicitor if you’re seeking advice on IP laws. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

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