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The quick guide to IP protection

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Business, Copyright, Design, Patents, Trade marks

We all know that when running a business, there are a whole host of procedures and requirements that you need to remember and adhere to.

Often, thinking about how to protect your IP assets is the last thing on your mind. But did you know that IP is one of the most valuable assets your business will own?

Learn from their mistakes

I’ve heard businesses say that venturing into the realms of IP for the first time can be daunting. But the most important thing to remember is you’re not alone. Many hundreds of thousands of businesses have gone through this process before you. They've encountered every imaginable problem, raised every conceivable question and fallen at every hurdle.
So why not take their experiences on board and learn from their mistakes? After hearing so many IP horror stories, I’ve pulled together some IP dos and don’ts to help you avoid the same pitfalls.


  • think about IP from day one – research your ideas thoroughly before proceeding
  • consult an IP attorney/professional every step of the way
  • register your brand as a trade mark
  • ensure employee contracts state that IP created is owned by the company
  • put agreements in place with third parties to establish the ownership of any IP created
  • keep new ideas out of the public domain and ensure all employees know the importance of confidentiality


  • assume IP isn’t relevant to you – every business owns or uses some form of IP no matter the industry or area that they trade in
  • try to trade off the back of other people’s trade marks as this could result in costly legal proceedings
  • copy or use the work of others without gaining the required permissions or licences
  • wait until your business is successful before registering your IP as it may be too late
  • think a behaviour is legal just because ‘it’s what others do’
  • mistake the use of something online as proof of ownership

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  1. Comment by JEONG CHUN-PHUOC posted on

    31 Jan 2017.

    The above UK IP issues present several considerations from ASEAN (Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia,etc) perspective.

    As 21st Age of Innovation envelopes other old and 'newly discovered ' world within IP embrace of global trade and commerce, there are optimism amid pessimism whether the new economy a.k.a. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY-centric INNOVATION ECONOMY ("PIE") can provide new solutions to diverse economic malaise and financial crisis that continue to shackle both developed and developing continents.

    "PATENT LAW IN MALAYSIA" by Thomson Reuters Malaysia is submitted to provide fresh impetus in accelerating comprehension of INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY constraints and challenges impacting ASEAN, AEC COMMUNITY, and Asia-Pacific realms.

    "PATENT LAW IN MALAYSIA" seeks to provide new understanding in

    In global IP MARKETPLACE, the book represents new humble thoughts in INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY understanding on difficult INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY issues and
    interpretation direction in the challenging INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY-centric INNOVATION ECONOMY ("PIE").
    (#with crossed fingers)

    Adj Prof and An Advocate in Better Business World

  2. Comment by Christian Browne posted on

    Alot of early stage companies use consultants instead of employees to service their needs. One of the reasons for this is that consultants are generally paid on an "as and when used" basis and their appointment can be quite flexible and does not need to take into account employment law issues. However if the consultant is creating IP then it is important to include IP ownership and assignment provisions in the consultancy agreement so that the principal owns all the IP that has been created by consultant and which it has paid for. An issue that may arise relates to ownership of Background IP and Foreground IP. The consultant may incorporate its own, previously created, Background IP into the work created under the consultancy agreement and may not wish to assign title to such Background IP to the principal. In such circumstances the parties may wish to negotiate a licence of such Background IP thereby enabling the principal to use the Background IP on a perpetual, worldwide and royalty free basis. A resource that explains the concept of Background IP and Foreground IP in the context of commercial collaborations is:

  3. Comment by Charlie H posted on

    @Clive - exactly! It always amazes me how many businesses, especially small businesses, ignore IP and copyrighting. More so those who do creative work. I guess the complicated, complex nature of the laws themselves don't really encourage excited discussion! Though I have found resources that explain things in easier terms - like this one - help a lot, and work well as an expansion on the perfect introduction to the topic this post offers. Great stuff!

  4. Comment by clive bonny posted on

    Great tips and even better news is that IP protection does not cost an arm and a leg
    Design registration starts at £60 and trademarks at £170
    Can businesses afford NOT to?