We called it a Partner Masterclass and 35 people attended, which for a Partner training session is a record number of attendees. At the session on 28th Jan 2020, Jemma Green of Clarion ran through the many subheadings of Intellectual Property (IP) law. I’m going to summarise her summary! What’s that tell you – if you really need to know the law take legal advice.
IP rights give you protection from competitors infringing your rights. They are an asset which can be sold. You can get injunctions to restrain breach of your rights and damages. James Dyson recovered £4m in damages and £2m in costs from Hoover.
Branding can be protected by trademarks, passing off action, copyright
It must be distinctive and capable of distinguishing you from others. So common words are difficult but possible, logos, shapes (Coca cola bottle), colour (v difficult) even smells. There are 45 classes of which 34 are related to goods. Infringement – is confusion likely.
Research what’s out there already. Distinctive, is it part of a name already? Is it registered? Have your employees got any claims? Contracts need to provide for IP to belong to your company.
Copyright protects the recording of an idea and it lasts 70 years after the death of the author. Website design and content, source code software interface, if in doubt keep it confidential. If the work is within the role of the employee, the copyright in the work belongs to the company. Contracts with outside consultants need to assign the IP to the company.
Copyright myths: your ok if you change it – probably not especially if you started with what you are saying you have not copied.
Words put together in a methodical way. Has there been a substantial investment in the way it is put together. Protection for 15 years. Best to have assignments from outsiders.
2 regimes registered and unregistered. Registering a design is quick and easy. What does the product look like? It must be new and have individual character and can protect part of a product. A regd design lasts for 25 yrs.
The key is to assess what confidential information you have and devise a strategy
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