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Lara Shehadeh
Family Paralegal

What is Intellectual Property: A Copyright Lawyer's Perspective and Explanation

In the realm of intellectual property, ensuring the security of your creations is of utmost importance to prevent any unauthorized use or reproduction. As a copyright lawyer affiliated with a law firm in London, we safeguard diverse forms of intellectual property. Let’s delve into the essential components of this type of property, encompassing copyright, patents, designs, and trademarks.

Having the appropriate form of intellectual property protection is essential for preventing the unauthorized replication or theft of various elements, such as:

  • the names associated with your products or brands
  • your inventions
  • the distinctive design or appearance of your products
  • creative works or productions you author

Intellectual property protection encompasses various forms, including copyright, patents, designs, and trademarks. Some protections are automatic, while others require a formal application process.

You possess intellectual property rights if you:

  • created it (and it meets the criteria for copyright, a patent, or a design)
  • purchased the rights from the original creator or a previous owner
  • own a brand that could function as a trademark, such as a well-known product name

Intellectual property is diverse and adaptable. It can have multiple owners, be linked to individuals or businesses, and is open to being bought or transferred. This flexibility highlights the dynamic nature of intellectual property rights, making them accessible and accommodating to different ownership structures and needs.

Owning intellectual property rights provides the opportunity to generate income from the creative assets you possess. For those who are self-employed, ownership typically extends even when commissioned by others, unless a contractual agreement grants them specific rights.

The question now becomes what is copyrights, patents, designs, and trademarks and how do you protect your rights?


Copyright provides authors specific rights, prohibiting unauthorized actions and allowing legal action against infringement or plagiarism.

Copyright applies to a diverse range of artistic and literary works, including;

  • Literary works: poetry, song lyrics, manuscripts, manuals, computer programs, website code, scripts, text content, commercial documents, leaflets, newsletters, articles, etc.
  • Dramatic works: plays, dance choreography, etc.
  • Musical works: sound recordings, score, notation.
  • Artworks: photography, painting, digital art, sculptures, technical drawings, diagrams, maps, logos, etc.
  • Typographical arrangement in published editions: magazines, periodicals.
  • Sound recordings: recordings of other copyright works, e.g., a performance of musical or literary work.
  • Visual media: films, video footage, broadcasts, cable programs.


Upon the creation of various works, copyright protection is automatically granted without the need for application or fees. This protection encompasses a wide range of creative expressions. The copyright symbol (©), along with your name and the year of creation, can be used to mark your work, although this does not impact the level of protection.

Copyright serves as a robust defense against actions like copying, distribution, rental, lending, public performance, adaptation, and online publication. It ensures the preservation of the creator’s exclusive rights and the integrity of their work.

Trade Mark

A trademark is like a special mark that helps people recognize a product or company. It can be a unique name, word, slogan, design, or symbol – something that sets a product or business apart.

Unregistered Trademarks:

If you don’t officially register your trademark, there’s still some protection. Common law stops others from using your mark in a way that might confuse customers. To prove this, you need to show you owned the name before the issue, customers know it’s connected to you, and you suffered harm, such as losing money.

Trademark Registration:

 You can make your trademark more secure by registering it officially with the government. This process takes about 6 to 18 months. If you register in specific countries, like the US or UK, it protects your mark only there. But in the European Union, there’s something called a Community Trade Mark (CTM) that covers your mark in all EU countries.

Why Register Your Trademark:

Once your trademark is registered, you can:

  • Take legal action against those who use your brand without permission, like counterfeiters.
  • Add the ® symbol next to your brand to show it’s yours and warn others not to use it.
  • Sell or allow others to use your brand in various business deals.

Design rights

Design rights are applicable to physical products, focusing on the visual characteristics such as the shape, texture, color, materials, contours, and ornamentation. For a design to qualify as new, it must present an overall impression that differs from any existing design.

Similar to trademarks discussed earlier, an unregistered design right is protected under common law but must be proved. However, for enhanced protection in specific countries or regions globally, design rights must be formally registered at the national or international level. This registration reinforces legal safeguards, providing additional security for the unique visual elements of a product.


In the UK, a patent is a form of intellectual property protection granted for inventions. Patents provide inventors with exclusive rights for their inventions, preventing others from making, using, selling, or importing the patented invention without the inventor’s permission. Here are key points about patents in the context of intellectual property in the UK:


  1. Requirements for Patentability:
    • To be eligible for a patent in the UK, an invention must be new, involve an inventive step, be capable of industrial application, and not fall within excluded categories (such as scientific theories, mathematical methods, literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic works).
  2. Application Process:
    • The process of obtaining a patent involves filing a patent application with the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) or the European Patent Office (EPO). The application typically includes a detailed description of the invention, claims defining the scope of protection, and any necessary drawings.

To conclude, as a copyright lawyer based in firm in London, our expertise extends beyond copyright to encompass comprehensive guidance on patents, trademarks, and design rights. Specifically, we offer tailored assistance in navigating the patent process, ensuring inventions meet criteria for patentability, guiding through the application process, and advising on the duration, rights, territorial scope, and public disclosure associated with patents. Our holistic approach positions us as a reliable partner in securing, enforcing, and maximizing the value of diverse intellectual property assets.

For specialist advice and support. please get in touch with our divorce solicitors in London now by calling 020 7139 9266 or contacting the GOOD LAW INTERNATIONAL office.

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