Intellectual property (IP)

By Tolley in association with Hogan Lovells

The following Employment Tax guidance note by Tolley in association with Hogan Lovells provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

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

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.

Patents Act 1977, ss 39–41 (subscription sensitive)

Some types of IP can be legally protected to prevent others being able to profit from the idea. The main types of IP are:

patentsthese give you the right to stop others making, using or selling an invention without your permission, so that you have 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)
– could be used in an industry
See the GOV.UK website  for more information on patent registration.
design rightsthese protect the physical appearance of an object. You can register the design of an object that you produce, to prevent other people from infringing the design. For example, if you produce a soft drink with a highly recognisable bottle design, you could prevent other people from using that bottle design to sell their own product. Even if you do not register the design, you can prevent other people from deliberately copying it but, if the design is not registered, you may only take action if the copying of your design is deliberate.
See the GOV.UK website  for more information

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