Protecting your intellectual property makes it easier to take legal action against anyone who steals or copies it.

You get limited automatic protection over some intellectual property, for example design right. However, it’s easier to prove you own intellectual property legally if it is registered.

Keep your intellectual property secret until it’s registered. If you need to discuss your idea with someone, use a non-disclosure agreement.

There are different types of protection depending on what you’ve created. 

Table containing types of Intellectual Property
Type of protection Intellectual property it covers Time to allow for application
Registering a trade mark Product names, logos, jingles 4 months 
Registering a design Appearance of a product, including its shape, packaging, patterns, decoration 3 weeks
Copyrighting your work Writing and literary works, art, photography, films, TV, music, web content no application needed
Patenting an invention Inventions and products, for example machines, medicines around 5 years 

For further information please select the following link Intellectual property and your work: Protect your intellectual property - GOV.UK (

Learn the basics on protecting and exploiting your IP with guidance from our experts by visiting our Innovation support page Intellectual Property | Innovation (

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