Protecting your ideas
Copyright, Patents, Trademarks and Registered Designs.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) provide legal protection for ideas and inventions, giving creative artists, inventors and businesses control over how their Intellectual Property (IP) assets are used. The Centre provides information and support to help you identify and protect your Intellectual Property. The four main IPRs are explained in this video from the Intellectual Property Office.
A patent protects new inventions and covers how things work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made. A patent gives the owner the right to prevent others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without permission.
Find out more about patents here.
Registered designs protect the appearance of an object in the geographical region in which you register it. The visual appearance of an object can include colour, shape, pattern, texture, material, etc. Registered designs can include clothes, puzzles, furniture and medical equipment.
Find out more about design rights here.
Trade marks, broadly speaking, indicate the origin of goods or services. Traditionally this was done by using words, logos, pictures or a combination of these elements, now trade marks can also be sounds and/or gestures. Shapes of products can also be registered.
Find out more about trade marks here.
Copyright is protection for literary or artistic works. Copyright does not protect ideas for works. It is only when the work has been captured (fixed) in hard copy that it is protected. For example an idea for a book cannot be protected, but once you have written the manuscript then copyright applies.
Find out more about copyright here.