We’re back with our first post of 2021 and we’re getting straight into discussing the topic of intellectual property. With an unpredictable year ahead of us it’s important to ensure our work is protected in the ways that it needs to be. From musicians to photographers, your work is your creation, and this article tells you what you need to know about what intellectual property is and how it works.
What is intellectual property?
Intellectual property is work that you have created through your own thought process e.g. a story, a business idea, an invention or a symbol. Having the right intellectual property protection allows you to protect your work from others who steal or copy it.
Different types of intellectual property protection:
- Trade marks
You get some intellectual property protection automatically, but other require you to apply. There are also requirements that have to be met for the protection you have to apply for.
You own intellectual property if you:
- have created the work.
- have purchased the intellectual property rights from the creator or the previous owner.
- have a brand that is a trade mark e.g. a well-known product name.
Intellectual property can:
- have more than one owner – for example, two partners in a business can share the intellectual property of a product they both created.
- be sold or transferred – for example, an author can sell the rights to their book to a production company for media purposes.
If you’re self-employed, you own the intellectual property to your work even if the work was commissioned by someone else. For example, if a client commissioned and artist to paint a portrait, the artist would usually hold the rights to this work unless a contract states otherwise.
You would not usually own the intellectual property rights for work that you have created whilst working for someone else.
T K Williams-Nelson