It's important to protect your products from people copying them without your permission (counterfeiting) and branding them like your products. Counterfeit products:
- Affect profits as consumers buy them instead of your (genuine) product
- Can damage the firm's reputation as counterfeit products are often of inferior quality
- May injure consumers because they won't have undergone safety checks.
Brand protection involves preventing unauthorised use of the brand and preventing any activity which could harm the brand's reputation.
The first step in brand protection is the enforcement of intellectual property rights. Intellectual property legislation is designed to protect creators (and creation owners) from others unfairly copying their creations. Some creations are automatically protected from copying whilst others require the owner to make a formal application with the relevant authorities. Here is a list of intellectual property protection and examples of creations covered by each type of protection.
|Protection Type||What Does it Protect?||Protection Process||Examples Of Things That Intellectual Property Protects|
Copyright does not protect the idea, instead it protects the way an idea is recorded
|Copyright protects something that is written (authorship), composed (music) or required artistic effort||Copyright protection occurs automatically, you do not need to apply for it||Copyright protects books, poems, song lyrics, musical compositions, films, dramas, photographs, sculptures, paintings and computer programmes|
|Trademark||Trademarks protect something that identifies an organisation or person. In rare cases sounds, fragrances and colours have been registered as trademarks.||Protection only occurs through a formal trademark application with the relevant authorities||Trademarks protect shop signs, organisational Logos, product logos, brand Names and packaging design|
|Patents protect an invention, unique product or new process. Patents also cover identification of a new plant variety and DNA Mapping||Protection only occurs through a formal trademark application with the relevant authorities||Patents protect a variety of inventions and discoveries including machines, machine components, tools and medicines|
Design Right only applies in the United Kingdom
|Design Right protects the shape and configuration of objects if the shape and configuration are original. Design right does not cover the surface decoration on an object||Design Right Protection occurs automatically, you do not need to apply for it||Design right protects fashion items such as clothing, toys, and digital images including video game characters|
Registered Design (United Kingdom) or
Design Patent (United States) protects design features which give the product its unique appearance
|Registered Design Protects the appearance of a product||Registered Design Protection only occurs through a formal design protection application with the relevant authorities||Registered design and design patent protects product shape, colour, pattern, decoration, packaging, lines and contours|