How is IP obtained?

Intellectual property rights can be obtained in one of three ways: by application, by automatic derivation or by buying or licensing the IP.


Where an application procedure is involved, this usually follows the steps set out in the following sequence:

  • File Application
  • Search carried out to ascertain originality
  • Examination carried out
  • Objections raised/No objections raised
  • Deal with objections
  • Grant/Registration

Where an application procedure is involved, then usually the protection ultimately obtained is an absolute monopoly. Patents, registered designs and registered trade marks fall into this category.

Automatic Derivation

Automatic derivation of intellectual property can occur by the creation of an original work, e.g. a drawing, design document, prototype, or the creation of a reputation in a particular area. Where rights arise automatically, these rights are usually limited to the prevention of reproduction or a misrepresentation being made.

Copyright, unregistered design right (including semiconductor topography rights) and Unregistered trade marks fall into this category.

Buying or licensing IP

Intellectual property rights can also be bought or licensed from others, in the similar way to other types of property.

Buying or licensing intellectual property rights will generally involve negotiations with the rights holder, followed by drawing up of the appropriate agreement, which may cover things such as:

  • What rights are being bought or licensed
  • Where the new owner or licensee can use those rights (geographic scope or limitations)
  • For how long those rights may be licensed
  • Any limitations on how those rights can be used by the new owner or licensee
  • How much the new owner or licensee is going to pay, and whether there is an ongoing royalty obligation



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