Small firms warned over intellectual property

Over two thirds of small businesses are not protecting their intellectual property and are jeopardising their profits, says law firm Thomas Eggar.

“Innovation is a key element of maintaining a successful economy,” says Michael Camps, partner at Thomas Eggar. “By failing to register their intellectual property, UK SMEs are not only threatening their own profitability but also the country’s ability to compete on an international scale.”

He goes on to point out that “safeguarding intellectual property can help to attract potential investors. Registering intellectual property can be simple and affordable, so we would urge more companies to take advantage of this protection.”

Intellectual property (IP) allows people to own their creativity and innovation in the same way they can own physical property. The owner of IP can control and be rewarded for its use.

The four main types of IP, according to the Patent Office, are:

patents for inventions new and improved products and processes that are capable of industrial application

trademarks for brand identity of goods and services allowing distinctions to be made between different traders

designs for product appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product itself or its ornamentation

copyright for material literary and artistic material, music, films, sound recordings and broadcasts, including software and multimedia.

Be aware that more than one type of IP may apply to the same creation.

An innovation logbook is available from the Patent Office to help with matters of intellectual property.

See also: Five things to know about intellectual property

CBI: UK IP fundamental to growth

The UK’s world-class Intellectual Property (IP) framework must be maintained to support continuing investment and growth, the Confederation of British Industry says.

The lobbying group says that the IP framework is fundamental to supporting the UK’s world-class IP-intensive sectors, including pharmaceuticals, aerospace, commercial goods, and the creative industries.

To help drive future growth, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) must provide more targeted support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to enable them to commercialise their ideas swiftly, adds the organisation.

This should include a fast-track SME patent scheme, better guidance on protecting and using IP, and improved access to finance for smaller IP-rich firms.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, says, ‘The government must set out a clear and unambiguous aspiration to make the UK the best place to create, develop and exploit IP.

‘Any significant change or weakening of the existing IP regime, particularly erosion of the copyright laws, could undermine our creative industries, and be a big risk. We must play to our natural strengths by supporting the UK’s world-class creative and other IP-rich industries, which are fundamental to growth.’

Related Topics

Intellectual Property