Your business identity is your intellectual property and vice versa. Without it you cannot promote your business and continue to build a strong reputation, so it is well worth protecting!
Copyright law protects the following:
You do not need to register any item for copyright protection, copyright is automatically granted to the person that created the piece of work.
The copyright “©“symbol is often used as a reminder that the piece of work is protected under copyright law. The correct way of displaying a copyright reminder is; © (owner) (creation date). Ours would read; © James Good Limited 2008.
Copyright falls under civil law and to enforce it you simply need to prove to a court that your copyright has been infringed and by who. A court can grant an injunction stopping someone from continuing to infringe your copyright and possibly award you damages.
Registering a trade mark will protect you against thieves from stealing certain aspects of your intellectual property and using it themselves.
You can register a trade mark for any of the following:
Identity Colour Scheme
Strapline or Slogan
Website Domain Name
Trade marks can only be registered if the item is distinctive and sets your business apart from your competitors.
Without registering a trade mark you may still be protected from people using your intellectual property under the law of “passing off” but only if you already have a substantial reputation.
Registering your company name with Companies House or buying a website domain name does not give you the protection you might hope it would. Without registering a trade mark someone could actually steal your intellectual property and legally (although immorally) force you to surrender the domain name. Nice people eh!!
Registering a trade mark costs roughly between £500 and £1000 for a UK registration and up to £2500 for an EU registration. Registrations need renewing every ten years.
Intellectual Property Office - A comprehensive website defining the differences between copyright, trademark and patent. This is the official site for registrations in the UK. You can also perform an online Trade Mark Search here.
Chartered Institute of Patent Agents - Agents licensed to negotiate registration of trademarks, patents and designs. Intellectual Property Office UK - Online Trade Mark Search.
10 years ago