IP law


Intellectual property laws, or IP laws, are laws which protect your creation from use by others. IP laws can be complicated and in order to ensure your creation is properly protected you should instruct an intellectual property lawyer.

In the event of someone breaching your intellectual property rights, IP laws allow you to bring legal action against them and claim for damages.

There are four main types of application that IP laws cover:

  • A patent application protects an invention
  • A trademark protects branding
  • A design protects a decorative or external part of a product
  • A copyright protects music or other artistic creations


What type of application you make will depend on what your creation is. Inventions are usually protected by patents which stop people copying the technology you have invented for a limited period. A patent lasts for five years initially, although applications to renew the patent can be made for up to twenty years.

Before you apply for a patent, the first thing to do is to check the patents database, or instruct a solicitor to check it on your behalf. Your solicitor can assist with identifying any clashes with other patents and can assist with amending your product description in order to help to get your patent granted.

Once you have found that there is not already a patent for your invention, you can go about applying for your own patent. You may need to agree licensing arrangements if you are using other people’s technology in your business. Your solicitor will then help you to prepare the forms in order to apply for the right protections.

It’s a complicated area of law which can have long-term ramifications if not properly looked into, and speaking to a specialised solicitor is highly advised.

Other types of protection

Another type of application that can be made is for a trademark: something that distinguishes your product in the minds of a consumer. This might be a style of writing or a symbol that you wish to retain sole use of. If you do not register the trademark and your product becomes popular, you allow others to sell the product as if sold by you.

It may be that one product needs a number of different intellectual property rights applied to it and you may need an IP lawyer to advise you on which rights you should apply for.

The role of intellectual property lawyers

Intellectual property lawyers can help to decide:

  • What type of application you need to make
  • Help to fill in the correct forms
  • Advise what type of evidence needs to be sent with the application

For more of your questions answered, see our Five FAQs on intellectual property page.

Are you looking for an intellectual property/IP lawyer to assist you with an application for invention protection? Contact Law can put you in touch with an intellectual property lawyer specialising in patents, trademarks, design rights or copyrights, depending on the requirements of your case. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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