When you form a new company, you will have to make sure no one else can use your business assets like your logo, marketing slogan, packaging design, or website.
The best way you can protect your business assets is by protecting your intellectual property rights. And this can only be done through trademark and copyright protection. It protects your business branding and assets in the UK. But to expand your IP rights abroad, you will need to register a trademark abroad.
Now you need to decide which one you should go for.
What is a copyright?
Copyright provides protection to your original concepts, ideas and work. It protects your concept from being used by other people and companies. Also, it stops them from using, selling, reproducing or trading your company assets.
After creating something new in your business, you can immediately copyright it using the © symbol.
Essential things you need to know to copyright anything:
- Apply for it or incorporate it in the design.
- Add the year of your company incorporation.
- Add a company name.
- There is no fee required to copyright your business assets.
As everyone in the UK knows the meaning of the copyright symbol, it is clear to all other businesses and customers that you own exclusive rights to the work. You can sell or assign the copyright to someone else only if you want, but no one else can use your work without your permission. You can take legal action against someone who uses your work that has the copyright symbol in it.
In most countries, copyright can exist for 50 years for written, dramatic, and creative works and at least 25 years for photographs.
What is a trademark?
A trademark is used to protect anything specific that makes your company unique from its competitors, such as your company name, logo, slogan, etc.
Essential things you need to know to use a trademark on anything:
- Apply for registration of a trademark with the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).
- You will need to pay a fee starting from £270 to register a trademark.
- The process takes around 4 months.
- Your trademark will go onto the official trademarks database only if your application is successful.
This provides your company with legal protection when someone tries to use or reproduce your branding without your permission. You can take legal action against anyone who uses your registered trademark.
Once it is registered, the whole world can see that your brand is trademarked by using the official symbol®. Trademark registration exists for 10 years, after this time you will need to renew it.