Protecting intellectual property
The importance of protecting intellectual property
Intellectual property (IP) rights are valuable assets for your business - possibly among the most important it possesses.
Why is it important to protect intellectual property rights?
Your IP rights are important because they can:
- set your business apart from competitors
- be sold or licensed, providing an important revenue stream
- offer customers something new and different
- form an essential part of your marketing or branding
- be used as security for loans
You may be surprised at how many aspects of your business can be protected. Your name and logo, designs, inventions, works of creative or intellectual effort or trade marks that distinguish your business can all be types of IP. Explore the different types of IP in detail in our guides:
- trade marks
- get patent protection for your business
- copyright for your business
- unregistered and registered designs
Some IP rights are automatically safeguarded by IP law, but there are also other types of legal protection you can apply for.
To exploit your IP fully, it makes strong business sense to do all you can to secure it. You can then:
- protect it against infringement by others and ultimately defend in the courts your sole right to use, make, sell or import it
- stop others using, making, selling or importing it without your permission
- earn royalties by licensing it
- exploit it through strategic alliances
- make money by selling it
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) offers a number of online tools which can help you better understand your IP rights. Access the IP for business tools.
Businesses in Northern Ireland can also get IP advice from Invest Northern Ireland.