Intellectual property (IP) is the name given to the means of protecting the fruits of intellectual labour, whether it is laboratory research, a novel, the logo of a business or the knowledge associated with a product or process.
It is a method of commercially protecting assets that, without protection, would rapidly lose their value. Intellectual property includes patents, trade marks, copyright and know how and the protection of this knowledge is seen as an incentive to continue to produce works of value.
When granted, an intellectual property right (IPR) will give you the right to prevent others from using your property. This can give you a monopoly in the market, lasting from 15 years, in design rights, to potentially indefinite rights in the case of trade marks, (provided the trade mark is maintained and continually renewed). This protection gives value to your invention, and will increase the technology transfer opportunities available to you.
The state grants such protection in order to provide incentives to investors to develop technologies, products and ideas in order to bring them to market. This ultimately benefits the consumer. In the extreme case of pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals, where regulatory bodies require a substantial testing and development regime and investors may spend many millions before a product reaches the market, it is important that they this protection exists otherwise very few companies would go to the efforts required.
For more information on intellectual property, please contact Rachel Watmore IP Manager.