Innovation is the life blood of many businesses, giving the competitive edge needed to survive and prosper. But to ensure your business remains competitive, it is vital to protect your intellectual property (IP).
Here at Napthens our intellectual property specialists will work with you to protect, develop and exploit your intellectual property, advising on strategy that will help to grow and increase the value of your business. Our team can assist in all aspects of intellectual property, from identifying what intellectual property your business may have, through to brand protection and handling claims and disputes.
We also offer an online Trade Mark registration service.
Contact a member of our team today to discuss any intellectual property issue, including:
- Registration of intellectual property
- Protection of trade secrets and know-how
- Exploitation and licensing arrangements
- White-labelling agreements
- Research and development agreements
- Intellectual property sales and transfers
- Celebrity endorsements and brand licensing
- Intellectual property audits
- IP disputes and litigation
How can I protect my brand name?
The best way of protecting your brand name is to choose the right one to begin with! Consider searching the Domain Name Register, the register of companies at Companies House and the trade marks register at the Intellectual Property Office to check your brand name isn’t already being used. Then consider registration as a trademark. This is a very simple and relatively inexpensive way of protecting the future of your brand name, especially in comparison to the costly common law action for ‘passing off’.
How can I protect my idea?
Intellectual Property (IP) rights will not protect an idea, only the ‘expression’ of your idea. This means that in order to protect your idea, you have to turn it into something tangible – this can be a prototype, written description, chemical formula etc. You can then use the appropriate form of IP, for example registering the designs for your product using your drawings or apply for patent based on your explanation of the invention.
My employee has suddenly resigned and I suspect he has taken client contact details and the designs of our product. What can I do?
Look at your employee’s Contract of Employment to check if there are confidentiality provisions or post-termination restrictions in the contract that can be enforced. There may also be Intellectual Property clauses which state that all work the employee has created remains the property of the employer. In the absence of any Contract, there are still some implied terms of confidentiality that all employees are bound by.
Someone has copied my entire website under a very similar domain name – can they do this?
No. The content and look and feel of a website can be protected by intellectual property regulations. This includes copyright in both the visible content as well as the underlying source code. Images and graphics are also protected by copyright legislation.
Someone has set up in direct competition using my company name and logo – what can I do?
Has your name or logo been registered as a trademark? If so, it is possible to take action to stop their infringement of your trademark. If not, your main option is to rely on the common law of action against ‘passing off’. This means that you would have to: Have the necessary good will in your name or logo Prove that there is a likelihood of confusion in the mind of the public between the two brands or company names and finally Prove that damage is being caused to your business by their use of your business name / logo. Proving ‘passing off’ is a complex process, and it is therefore much better to protect your brand with a trade mark application.