Ways to Protect Ideas in the UK

When you have a great idea that no one else has ever thought of, and you believe it is commercially viable, you should think about protecting it. It might not be cheap, but it is worth it. If you have an invention, you can apply for a patent. If you deal more on the intellectual side, you can be protected by a copyright. Know when to get a patent, copyright or trademark.

The basics of patenting

A patent is used for inventions. If your product is patented, you can stop anyone from selling, using or making it without your consent. You can give your consent and charge a royalty fee, which could offer higher profit. Before deciding to apply for patent, you should be sure that your invention is new by checking it thoroughly.

Applying for it can be costly and complex, but you can get professional help. Keep the idea or invention to yourself until the patent application is in process. Check if it is commercially viable. Will customers want it? Who will be your target market? Will it solve an existing problem better than what is currently available? Patents can also take a long time to be granted.

The basics of copyright

Copyrights are for intellectual works. They can last for up to 70 years. In the UK, a copyright can be automatic. You do not have to apply for it. For as long as your work is original and tangible, copyright laws automatically protect it. However, your work is worth appending with the international copyright symbol followed by your name and the year of creation.

Copyrights are for creative works such as literary pieces, photography, illustration, music and web content. You can also automatically copyright original software, databases, music recordings, film and TV recordings, broadcasts and layout of published editions of musical, dramatic and written works. After owning copyright for your original work, you can licence others to use it or sell such copyright, which will be agreed upon in a contract. Copyright is only up to a particular period, depending on the type of work.

What are trademarks?

Trademarks are typically used for brand protection. If you want your name and logo to be identified with your business, you can take legal action if someone else copies or uses your brand without your consent. Show that it is protected by a trademark, by adding the ® symbol next to your brand name. To register a brand trademark, it should be unique. Words, sounds, logos and colour schemes can be trademarked in your brand.

A great idea or invention can turn into a viable business and earn you high profits. If you have just invented a product that has never existed, a patent attorney can help you increase your chances of getting a patent. Companies such as can help you with this. They can even simplify the process using tools such as software. Protect your intellectual property - you have every right to do so.

Image via Stuart Miles

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