Top Ten Intellectual Property Tips
My Top Ten Intellectual Property Tips by John Sykes, Director and Head of Intellectual Property at Yorkshire law firm, Lupton Fawcett LLP
- Innovation, brands, and good ideas will be copied. Be well informed about available legal rights. Make positive decisions about legal protection. Don't passively miss the chance to protect your ideas.
- The legal rights are patents, designs, trade marks etc so called intellectual property or IPRs. These rights are complex. Some require registration. Spend time understanding the basics to avoid some nasty pit falls.
- It is not true patents are useless because you can easily design around a patent. There is a serious downside if you get it wrong. You pay your own legal costs, the other side's legal costs, damages and all your investment in the product or service is wasted. Same for other IPRs. Reasons to be careful and to own some IPRs!
- Trade marks are registered for as long as you want. Patents for 20 years and designs if registered up to 25 years. So building brand value makes sense. Protect this value with registered trade marks.
- Licensing your innovations and legal rights should be commercial deal terms first, and then draft the contract. Avoid 'lawyer tennis' with a draft document.
- Unless you are very experienced, get some good legal advice before you negotiate the deal terms. It will be worth the cost and you will have missed something if you don't.
- You need to stop the copiers - the poachers. Pick on an easy target, hit them hard, and publicise the win.
- Avoid joint ownership of IPRs if possible. If joint ownership is unavoidable, you must have an effective ‘pre-nup’. There are few divorce laws for joint owners of intellectual property rights. And they are country specific so you will need to sort out who can do what in each country.
- It is possible to value IPRs. Valuation is all about the enhanced revenue and profits derived from the IPRs or expected to be generated. There are occasions when a valuation is needed - including sale, licensing, group transfers, and tax planning.
- The intellectual property world is not a jungle. More like a big busy city. If you get lost, you will waste a lot of time and money. Find an experienced and trusted guide.
John Sykes is a specialist in Intellectual Property, Competition Law and Patents for Lupton Fawcett LLP. For a detailed look at the work that John does, please click on this link to view his profile.
Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.