That's why we want to help you learn more about trademarking and copywriting because we're helping you develop your idea before a bigger, richer company can get there first. So, whether you want to keep the cat in the bag, keep your logo unique or claim an idea that you're not ready to act on just yet- we're here to help.
Firstly, let's run through some terminology. When you trademark or copyright an idea, you're protecting it from thieves. That's right, and they've gotten so good they can steal your thoughts! Not really, but they can try and replicate what you do. Your ideas, concepts and slogans are what is now termed intellectual property and trademarking/copyrighting them mean you're taking advantage of your intellectual property right (IP rights).
You've got a brilliant and unique idea, that's very rare so you'd like to make sure it's looked after. What do you do? You copyright it. When you copyright a concept or idea, you're essentially preventing other individuals and businesses from using that idea for selling or trading things based on it.
In the UK, there isn't a registered list of everything copyrighted. That would be a very long list. And you don't actually have to register or pay any fees, or even apply, in order to copyright something. All you have to do is add the © symbol to whatever you want to copyright. It is also recommended to add the year that you created your concept and your company name in case anyone tries to claim otherwise!
You have full power over any work that you copyright, so if you want to let someone use it, or charge them for the opportunity, then you're completely within your rights to do so. But even though you don't have to register your copyright, it does only last for 50 years, or 25 for photographs, but there is also some variation on the duration across different types of work/art.
Unlike copyright, which is more general, trademarking is much more specific. You have to trademark things like brand names, logos, slogans and design them individually.
You'll also need to register a trademark with the UKIPO (UK intellectual property office), and to do so, and you'll have to pay a fee. Fees vary depending on the extent of your trademark and how general what you want to trademark is, e.g., trademarking a colour is a lot more expensive than trademarking a specific logo. The application process is also much longer, and it usually takes a few months (around four-five), and if your application is successful, then your trademark with go live onto the official trademarks database.
So, what is the difference between a copyright and a trademark? A trademark allows you to pursue legal action if someone is using your branding/logo/slogan etc., without your permission. The Nike logo, for example, is one of the most highly replicated logos, and they take quite a few people to court. Goods that use trademarked branding illegally are called counterfeit; just like with copyright, you can also sell or license the right to use your IP.
There are two different ways to signify that something is trademarked. The official symbol is ®, but while you're waiting for your approval to come through, you can use the ™. Unlike copyright, a trademark only lasts ten years, so you'll need to renew it again after ( more fees!)
Why bother with a trademark?
There are a few key distinctions between the two, and it's worth getting one over the other, depending on what you're planning on protecting
1. Copyright protection is applied as soon as you start using the symbol, unliked trademarks, which take time to register and process.
2. It doesn't cost anything to copyright your business, but there are significant fees for trademarking a concept. If you're registering with UKIPO, then you're looking at upwards of £270.
3. Copyright protection has a much longer duration, covering the work for at least 70 years ager the death of its creator. Trademarks, however, need to be renewed every ten years.
4. Copyright protection will automatically cover your IP in all Berne Convention countries, while trademarks have to register in different countries individually
How to trademark abroad:
If you're planning on internationalizing or you don't want people to benefit from your idea abroad, then you're going to want to trademark in different countries individually. This will involve registering for international trademarks, and you're going to be paying a lot of different people a lot of money in different currencies.
We recommend using our transfer service or multi-currency cards so that you're not adding to your costs by over-paying for exchange rates!
IP privileges fall into two general classifications:
Enlisted privileges. These privileges are allowed on application to an authorized body, like the UK Protected innovation Office. Enrolled privileges are imposing business model freedoms. This intends that, when enlisted, the proprietor can prevent others from utilizing the right without authorization. They include:
unregistered design rights; and
Unregistered rights. These emerge naturally, give insurance against replicating or utilizing the right, and include:
Licenses give innovators a lawfully protectable imposing business model over their creations and safeguard new and imaginative specialized highlights of items and cycles. They keep going for a restricted period (20 years in many nations).
To fit the bill for patent assurance, a development must:
include an innovative advance;
be fit for modern application; and
not be explicitly prohibited from assurance (for instance, strategies for carrying on with work).
It's important to record an application for one to get a patent, typically with the Patent Office of the nation where the designer works
Licenses can give an elevated degree of insurance and are fundamental for certain enterprises (for instance, drugs, where long stretches of innovative work are important to popularize another item).
Notwithstanding, licenses are costly to get and keep up with. They likewise include public divulgence of innovation, which could empower a contender to foster a contending item without encroaching the patent.
Good luck with your big idea! We’re hoping you make us part of the journey to your making it big!
Information in this publication is provided for general information only, and it does not purport to include every aspect of the topics with which it deals. You should not take it as advice. Prior to taking, or refraining from taking, any action based on the content of this publication, you should seek professional or specialist advice. Kixy LTD or its affiliates are not rendering legal, tax or other advice through the content of this publication. A similar outcome is not guaranteed. The content in the publication does not represent, warrant or guarantee, either expressly or impliedly, that it is current, accurate, complete, or up-to-date.