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Top 7 Tips To Protect, Exploit and Manage your Intellectual Property
By Cheryl Rickman

Article Summary:

Intellectual property has been a hot news topic recently. From the Chinese planning new IP laws to combat illegal downloads, and former FT Editor, Andrew Gowers leading an independent review into IP rights in the UK, to the thorny issue of digital rights management that has been highlighted with the French passing a new copyright law. The world of IP has been an eventful place of late. So, as a creative business or person, how do you protect, exploit and manage your intellectual property effectively? Cheryl Rickman, from Own It, provides a step-by-step guide. What Is Intellectual Property? From the music we listen to and the books we read, to the computer software and products we use in our daily lives, each is a product of human creativity, and that creativity is protected. It is these creations of the mind, once expressed, that make up intellectual property (IP). There is no IP protection in the UK for ideas or concepts, only for expression of those ideas or concepts. So, products, technical solutions and new inventions are protected by patents and design rights; literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works are protected by copyright; and brand names, words, sounds and even smells are protected by trade marks. (Even the ‘smell of freshly cut grass’ has been trade marked by a Dutch perfume company that uses it to give tennis balls their aroma). Therefore, in business, everything, from your own designs, software, brand, packaging and logo should be protected. In a nutshell, all of your mental and creative ‘outputs’ can be transformed into tangible ‘commodities’ so that you can licence, sell, trade, divide or retain your rights to those ‘commodities’. So, as well as making sure your own creative efforts are rewarded and protected, by properly managing your IP, you can: ·Gain the competitive edge by carving out a strong position for your brand, products and services and prevent your competitors from copying you. ·Increase your company’s market value, both before and after flotation. If you have various relevant patents in place and have registered your trade mark, you’ll find it easier to access venture capital and will be much more investor-friendly as a result. ·Create a strong credible brand and corporate identity to persuade more customers to do business with you. ·Avoid expensive litigation from those rights you may have infringed had you not fully understood IP. ·Prevent others from trading off your own creative endeavours Managing your IP and Unlocking The Value Of Your Creativity STEP-BY-STEP


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