Illustrated plainly: introduction to intellectual property terms

An illustrated on intellectual property terms and some of the jargon.

So, you’ve got an idea or a business you want to protect. You’ll want intellectual property (IP) law on your side. Here’s a quick intro to explain some of the jargon.

  • You could get a patent, which protects the concepts of new and breakthrough technology.
  • You might register a trade mark, which protects stuff like brand names, and logos.
  • If you’re making something with a regional significance like Champagne or scotch whiskey, you might try registering a geographical indication, which protects products by region.
  • If it’s the look of a new product or packaging, you may use a design registration.
  • In horticulture, a plant variety right protects the rights for owners of plant varieties.
  • If it’s something creative like writing, films, music, drawings, photography or even software, you may be eligible for copyright.
  • In certain cases, the law can protect trade secrets and confidential information.
  • For some inventions or innovations, multiple forms of IP may be applicable.

Of course, all of these protections are worthless without the law to back them up. When someone uses your IP without permission, it’s called infringement. Having strong IP protection is a good deterrent to infringes and in many cases alerting someone to your rights can be enough to make the infringing activity stop, and if you want to make money from your IP, you can sell it, license it, or franchise it.

So back to your idea, we’re here to help and can guide you on what kind of IP is right for you.

If you need plain English advice on IP law, get in touch with one of our experts.