English Law/Intellectual Property

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Intellectual Property (IP) is an umbrella term that relates to the different ways in which the law protects and regulates creative outputs. There are many different types of IP that can protect different aspects of creativity. For example: copyright, moral rights, design rights, patents, trade marks, and trade secrets.


Copyright protects things such as books, films, music, photographs. In fact it protects any original literary, artistic, dramatic, or musical works, as well as sound recordings, broadcasts and typographical arrangements.[1]

Moral Rights[edit]

Moral rights are a special set of rights which belong exclusively to authors of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works and to the directors of a film. They include the right to be identified as the author (as long as the author or director asserts their rights); and the right to prevent or object to the derogatory treatment of their work.[2]

Design Rights[edit]

Design rights protects the appearance, the shape and/or configuration of objects – so how your product looks for example. Design rights arise automatically and can also be registered.[3]


A patent protects inventions. There are certain criteria that the invention has to reach in order to be patentable: It must have utility – meaning it must have practice use, it must be novel – so, it is different from what is already available, and it must have an inventive step – this means that it has to have a level invention that cannot be simply deduced by a person with average knowledge of the particular field.[4]

Trade Marks[edit]

A trade mark protects brand names, logos and slogans. It is a distinctive sign used to differentiate the product or service between identical or similar goods and services offered by different producers or services providers.[5]

Trade Secrets[edit]

Trade secrets can protect ideas, know-how and commercial information that is confidential, usually by way of a non-disclosure agreement.[6]

See also[edit]