Intellectual property

Produced by Tolley in association with David Fyfield at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

The following Employment Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley in association with David Fyfield at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Intellectual property
  • IP created in employment
  • Contractual terms
  • IP and the duty of fidelity
  • Compensation for inventions

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) is a broad term which covers a wide variety of inventions, designs, creations and discoveries. It can include anything from a piece of software to the design of a product to a logo.

Some types of IP can be legally protected to prevent others from being able to use them. The main types of IP are:

PatentsThese give you the right to stop others making, using or selling an invention without your permission, giving you a monopoly for the duration of the patent. They are available for any invention which:
– is new
– involves an ‘inventive step’ (ie it must be something genuinely invented rather than something obvious to a person skilled in the field of technology concerned)
– is capable of industrial application, and
– does not consist solely of certain excluded matter (like a scientific theory or method for doing business
See the GOV.UK website for more information on patent registration
Design rightsThese protect the appearance of the whole or part of a design. You can register a design you produce, to prevent other people from infringing the design by reproducing it. For example, if you produce a new bottle design for a soft drink, you could prevent other people from using that bottle design or a highly similar one to sell their own product (even if they were unaware of your design). If you do not register the design, you may be able to rely on unregistered design rights to prevent other people from copying your design but they do not last as long.
See the GOV.UK website for more information on design registration
Trade marksThese are signs that your business uses to identify to consumers that a product or service originates from you or is authorised by you. Trade marks commonly take the

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