We have compiled a list of resources to assist you in attracting angel investment capital. Negotiate for and protect your investment and intellectual property with the advice below.
Protect your IP (Intellectual Property)
As an Entrepreneur, there will inevitably come a time when you must protect your Trade mark (your brand for example), copyright, patent and the design of your product. Protecting your trademarks and patents are essential when building a business and Venture Giants discusses the procedure on the creation and ownership of IP rights.
Copyright protects creative or artistic works.
You should only copy or use a copyrighted work with the copyright owner’s permission.
You can copyright:
- Drama, including dance or mime
- Layouts used to publish a work, for a book
- Recordings of a work, including sound and film
- Broadcasts of a work
Copyright applies to any medium. This means that you must not reproduce copyright protected work in another medium without permission. This includes, publishing photographs on the internet, making a sound recording of a book, and so on.
Automatic and Free protection
There is no official registration system for copyright in the United Kingdom (UK) and most other parts of the world. There are no forms to fill in and no fees to pay to get copyright protection.
So long as you have created a work that qualifies for copyright protection, that is it falls into one of the categories of material protected by copyright, you will have copyright protection without having to do anything to establish this. It is a requirement of various international conventions on copyright that copyright should be automatic with no need to register.
To help protect your copyright work, it is advisable to mark it with the © symbol, the name of the copyright owner and the year of publication. Although this is not essential, it will let others know when the term of protection started and hence whether it is still covered by copyright, and indicate who to approach should they need to ask permission to use the work.
Further ways to protect your work
You can create evidence for yourself by sending a copy of the work to yourself by Special Delivery and not opening the envelope upon its return. You could perhaps send the special delivery to your Solicitor or legal representative – as proof that these documents were sent to him on this date and time.
It is important to realise that sending a copy of the work to yourself will NOT prove that you were the creator of the work. Keeping copies of all your drafts and any other material that shows your connection with the particular copyright material as you develop it could, however, be useful evidence if you ever have to prove that you are the author.
Remember there is no official copyright register because copyright is automatic. There are, however, a number of companies that offer unofficial copyright registers. You should think very carefully whether this is a useful service for you before choosing this route as they will most probably not be able to offer you more protection then what we have suggested above. If you do decide to proceed unofficially with one of these companies, please review how much it will cost and whether it is a one-off or regular payment. Also will you be paying just for a registration, or does the cost cover more than this, for example help with a legal action should your copyright be infringed?
Further information can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/intellectual-property-an-overview
If you have designed a new product, you should consider getting your shape and design protected especially as protecting the shape of your product is free (through copyright protection)
The first design right is free and you are automatically entitled to it as an Entrepreneur, as long as you have created an original design for a product. This free protection will protect the internal or external shape or configuration of your product – but not your design or pattern.
Remember the design right will allow you to stop anyone from copying the shape or configuration of the product, but will NOT protect you from any other factors, like someone copying your patterns from your product. If you need the entire design and shape of your product protected, you are best to register your design officially as is listed below.
Using free design rights on your product will give you the right to stop anyone copying your design for up to 15 years. To apply a copyright to your product for free please see https://www.gov.uk/topic/intellectual-property/copyright
A registered design will give you a monopoly right for the look of a product, protecting both the shape and the design on it. A registered design will cover the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and materials of the product or its ornamentation.
To be registered, a design must:
- Be new
- Have an individual character; meaning, it should not remind an informed person of an existing design.
If your design meets these requirements, you may want to consider applying for a registered design. If you decide to register your design and it is accepted you will have to renew it every 5 years (up to a maximum of 25 years).
If your design meets these requirements, you may want to consider applying for a registered design.
A patent will protect a new invention. It will also cover:
- How things work
- What they do
- How they do it
- What they are made of
- How they are made
It will give you the owner the right to prevent others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without your permission.
To gain this protection, your invention will have to:
- Be new
- Have an inventive step that is not obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the subject
- Be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry
But, your Invention can NOT be:
X A scientific or mathematical discovery, theory or method
X A literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work
X A way of performing
X The presentation of information, or some computer programs
X An animal or plant variety
X A method of medical treatment or diagnosis
X Against public policy or morality
If your invention meets these requirements, you may want to consider applying for a patent at the link provided above.
It is important to note that if your application is approved for a patent, you will have to renew it every year after the 5th year for up to 20 years protection.
A trade mark is primarily a badge of origin and it is used so that your customers will be able to recognise your product or business. A trade mark protects any sign or symbol that allows your customers to tell you apart from your competitors. You can register a name, logo, slogan, domain name, shape, colour or sound.
A trade mark must be:
- Distinctive for the goods and services you provide
- Not deceptive, or contrary to law or morality
A trade mark could be described as:
- Any sign which can distinguish the goods and services of one trader from those of another
- These signs can include words, logos, pictures, sounds, smells, colours, forms (3 dimensional marks)
Is my brand trademark-able?
Not all applications made to register trade marks are acceptable. For your trade mark to be accepted, your trademark will have to be distinctive for the goods or services which you are applying to register it for.
But your trade mark must NOT be:
X Deceptive, against the law, or against accepted morality
X Descriptive of a characteristic of the goods or services
Also, before making your application it may be an idea to check your name internationally as the IP office will not be able to register some marks because they are, or closely resemble, internationally protected symbols or names.
If your trade mark meets these requirements, you may want to consider applying for a registered trade mark direct by applying from here: https://www.gov.uk/topic/intellectual-property/trade-marks
If you have a registered trade mark, please remember that you must renew it every 10 years to keep it in force.
Please click on any of the points listed above to learn more about each of the protections available in the UK and abroad.
UK Business Incubation
UKBI works with over 1000 members from central and local government, national and international organisations, HE and FE institutions, science parks, research and development laboratories, innovation centres, commercial clusters, social regeneration projects and the private sector to help create the right environment for innovations and entrepreneurs to succeed.
How to find information on UK companies
Find information on any company in the UK by using Companies House is the only resource to access information on Companies
Reload Internet was established in 2000 and in 2005 was the London Finalist in HSBC Startup awards. It is a business centre located in Paddington and we have found it is a great quiet place for entrepreneurs to work in.
Whether it be a desk, computer, printing or scanning that you require they cater for it all. It is also great for website launches. The service also is the best place to get your Passport Photo from whether it be for an entrepreneur visa or investor visa.
The service has specialist knowledge and has produced over 300 youtube videos for every country in the world. They are based in Paddington, London.