Intellectual property rights considerations for websites
Intellectual property rights considerations for websites

The following IP guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Intellectual property rights considerations for websites
  • The main components of a website
  • The elements of a website that can be protected by copyright or other intellectual property rights
  • ‘Look and feel’ and ‘functionality’
  • The term of protection of copyright and other relevant intellectual property rights
  • Securing IPR in website development projects
  • Preventing unauthorised copying or use of a website or unlawful conduct by competitors
  • Internet service providers’ (ISP) legal obligations to prevent online copyright infringement

The purpose of this Practice Note is to examine and explain the intellectual property rights (IPRs) likely to exist in a website and the extent to which these can be protected.

It also considers relevant factors in website development projects and what website owners can do to stop unauthorised use of their websites and to prevent unlawful conduct online by their competitors. The Practice Note covers:

  1. The main components of a website

  2. The elements of a website that can be protected by copyright or other intellectual property rights

  3. ‘Look and feel’ and ‘functionality’

  4. The term of protection of copyright and other relevant intellectual property rights

  5. Securing IPRs in website development projects

  6. Preventing unauthorised copying or use of a website, or unlawful conduct by competitors

  7. Service providers’ legal obligations to prevent online copyright infringement

This Practice Note includes a brief discussion about internet service provider (ISP) liability but for a more detailed explanation of the relevant issues, see Practice Note: ISP and intermediary liability. It doesn’t consider issues arising in relation to registration, use or protection of domain names. For more on this, see: Domain names—overview.

The main components of a website

A website is the cornerstone of an organisation’s online presence and website owners invest significant time and resource in the creation and development of websites and their content. The internet