What is intellectual property
Every business has valuable intellectual assets - e.g. products, inventions, knowledge, designs - and having intellectual property (IP) rights means you can legally protect your assets and you can then:
- license your IP
- sell your IP
- take legal action against anyone who steals or copies your IP
Intellectual property rights can apply to:
- the names and logos of your products and brands
- your unique products or inventions
- innovative aspects of your products
- the design or look of your products
- written, visual or audio content
Owning and protecting intellectual property
You own intellectual property if you:
- created it (and it meets the requirements for copyright, trademark, patent or design protection)
- bought intellectual property rights from the creator or a previous owner
Intellectual property can:
- have more than one owner
- belong to people or businesses
- be sold or transferred
Protecting intellectual property
Copyright, patents, designs and trade-marks are all types of intellectual property protection. Some of these are granted automatically, others you have to apply for.
The Intellectual Property Office is responsible for IP rights in the UK and they can advise you about the different types of protection. You can also get local support and advice on intellectual property in Scotland.
You can also get local support and advice on intellectual property in Scotland from Scottish Enterprise's Intellectual Assets Centre. Highlands and Islands Enterprise also has an Intellectual Assets and Innovation Adviser.