More and more businesses are beginning to appreciate the importance of intellectual property to their business and taking steps to protect that property is becoming increasingly common. This is according to the recently published Innovation and Growth Report 2018-19 from the Intellectual Property Office (available here) which notes that filings of trade mark applications increased by 11.4% on the previous year, and design application filings increased by a massive 18.9%.
Neither of these statistics is surprising when you consider that intangible assets are becoming increasingly central to the UK economy, with the value of intangible assets for many companies outstripping those of traditional tangible assets such as stock and property. If you are in the situation where the majority, or a substantial proportion, of the value of your business is tied up in your IP then it follows that you need to maximise the protection of that IP.
You can register a trade mark to protect things that distinguish you from your competitors, thereby protecting your reputation and goodwill, the very things that drive customers to your business. If you are launching a new product or brand then putting in place a strategy where obtaining trade mark protection is an early part of the launch process ensures not only that you are fully protected from the outset, but also crucially that you are not unwittingly copying somebody else.
Design right exists to protect the physical characteristics of products and can be applied to almost any product. Though some design right arises automatically, registering a product as a design protects more elements of the design and means you can claim rights in that product for up to 25 years, giving businesses the comfort to know that if they do invest in product development and subsequent design registration they will be able to reap the rewards of that work.
Both of these rights, along with the other IP rights, are a crucial element to allowing any company to be innovative. You do not want to spend time and money on the research and development of a new product without ensuring the protection is in place to allow you to control the commercialisation of that product and exploit it to its fullest.
It is vital moving forward that the UK economy is innovative, something recognised and encouraged by the government through incentives such as patent box tax relief, R & D tax credits and the low filing fees for IP registrations. It is heartening to see that companies are taking advantage of these incentives to innovate and grow.
If you have any queries, please contact Adam Turley at 01228 552600 or 01524 548494.