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Intellectual Property

Intellectual property covers a wide range of business assets, from copyright to trademarks, patents to design rights, business names and trademarks. If you have a business, you are likely to own intellectual property and make use of other people’s intellectual property within your business activities.

Intellectual property lets people own the work they create. It can be any of the following:

  • brands and logos
  • inventions
  • software
  • designs
  • music
  • books
  • poems
  • paintings
  • photography
  • other kinds of creative work

Intellectual property can be very valuable, and there are businesses, such as computer games companies, that exist simply to develop intellectual property or even take advantage of it. It is important to protect your business by securing your intellectual property rights. It is equally important to avoid infringing the rights of other businesses.

The way you can protect your intellectual property depends on what exactly it is:

  • Copyright is granted to the person or organisation that creates published artistic work, which includes writing, film music and computer software. Unlike most other forms of intellectual property, copyright is granted automatically when the work is first published.
  • Patents protect inventions, including the features and processes that make things work.
  • Trademarks are symbols that differentiate between goods and services and can be logos or brand names.
  • Designs can be protected by registering them, and through design right.
  • Digital intellectual property can be protected in other ways than using the law, such as encryption and using digital signatures.

You can get advice and help regarding intellectual property issues from a qualified adviser from the Enterprise Europe Network at a clinic session at DCCI. Call the Dorset Growth Hub on 08454 586480 or email info@dorsetgrowthhub.co.uk. alternatively you can book a private one-to-one session on line by clicking the following link:- http://www.businesswest.co.uk/events/all?topics=intellectual-property

Clinics are run at the DCCI offices on a Tuesday morning, approximately once every four weeks.

In a recent survey, 86% of UK small businesses said it’s important to know how to protect their intellectual property, but what exactly is IP?

IP covers any original creation, not just inventions, and can include your business name, logo, images, promotional material and even your website.

There are four main types of IP:

  • Patents – protects new inventions; how they work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made
  • Designs – protects the overall look of a product including the colour, shape, texture and material
  • Trade marks – protects brands, such as your business name or logo, and can consist of a word, phrase, picture or a combination of all these
  • Copyright – protects written, dramatic, musical and artistic works including photos, recordings, software and databases

Intellectual property assets can be integral to the growth and sustainability of a business. When properly managed, the value of your IP can far outweigh the physical assets, accounting for over 70% of your business’ value.

It’s important to identify and protect IP early on, but if you’re new to the subject, where do you start?

IP for Business from the IPO is a range of online tools designed to help you understand, identify, protect and exploit your IP assets to their fullest potential. Whether you’re a complete novice or looking to brush up on existing skills, we have the right tool for you:

IP Equip


  • What is it? A free, interactive online learning tool to help you identify assets which may be protected by IP rights. Made up of four modules on the main IP rights, it takes around an hour to complete and is also CPD accredited.
  • Who is it for? Everyone, from small business owners to professional advisors.


IP Health Check


  • What is it? A free online assessment of a business to help identify and add value to a business’s IP assets. Based on your answers to a series of simple questions, it provides a confidential report with advice on how to protect the IP.
  • Who is it for? Businesses and business advisors looking for a more detailed look at the IP within a business.


IP Master Class


  • What is it? A specialist course for business professionals. It will help you develop an in-depth understanding of IP and practical skills you can use in a business environment. Can be completed in a classroom (face-to-face) setting or online.
  • Who is it for? Professionals looking for a comprehensive course in IP.


IP Equip app


  • What is it? Perfect for accessing simple IP information on the go, the app gives you an overview of IP rights and how to make the most of them. Free to download on Apple iOS and Android devices.
  • Who is it for? Anyone who wants instant access to IP information.



The tools can be found on our business pages which is also packed with useful advice including; case studies, details of upcoming events and where to access further support.


General IP information, including protecting IP abroad, can be found on our website at www.gov.uk/ipo. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.


For more information, see these sites:-

The Intellectual Property Office can help you get the right type of protection for your creation or invention.

  • Intellectual Property toolkit for small firms

A new toolkit has been developed by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to help small firms use their intellectual property (IP) assets to obtain finance for growth. The ‘IP Finance’ toolkit covers topics such as documenting IP assets, developing effective IP management strategies, and using appropriate language when speaking to lenders about IP value. The toolkit also features details of finance options available for firms with valuable IP. Minster for Intellectual Property Baroness Neville-Rolfe, who launched the toolkit, commented that: “It will assist businesses which are rich in intangibles, but lack traditional assets, to make a stronger case when they need to access the finance they need to grow.”

Download the new toolkit here IP_Finance_Toolkit



  • Contact Law  can help you find a local lawyer to take care of the legalities surrounding your IP