What IP is available to you?

The intellectual property rights available to you for any new product, process or design, will vary greatly. In many cases a new product will have a number of potential IP rights associated with it, such as the possibility of patent protection for new technical features, design protection for a new product shape and trade mark protection for new branding. If you believe that you may have generated some new IP rights, but are unsure about exactly what you can protect, then please contact us here and one of our expert attorneys will be able to advise you.

Below are a couple of scenarios which highlight some possible IP rights associated with new product launches:

Scenario 1 – a new anti-bacterial soap

Your company is a personal care product manufacturer which sells its own range of personal care products directly to retailers. You have an active R&D department that work on new product development projects. You have developed a new anti-bacterial soap, which utilises a new blend of anti-microbial ingredients in a new soap formulation. You intend to launch the new product in a hand-pump dispenser designed by your in-house designers, under a new brand name. You have kept everything secret and intend to launch your product in the near future.

What IP is available to you?


Patent protection – for the new blend of anti-microbial ingredients, the new soap formulation, any new methods of manufacturing the formulations, and even for any new mechanism in the hand-pump dispenser that may be inventive.

Trade secret protection – for any new manufacturing methods that you don’t want to put into the public domain

Registered design protection – for the new dispenser shape

Trade mark protection – for the new brand, and any artwork/logos used on the dispenser packaging.

Unregistered design rights & copyright – for artwork, design drawings etc.

Scenario 2 – A new children’s mechanical toy

Your company manufactures toys and has developed a new mechanical toy. You disclosed your new toy at a trade show over a year ago, and have discussed it’s mechanism with a number of retailers with no confidentiality obligations.

What IP is available to you?


NO PATENT PROTECTION! Your disclosure at a trade show over a year ago and to retailers will prevent you from gaining any valid patent protection in most countries, and your competitors may be free to utilise the technical mechanism themselves.

Trade mark protection – if you have a new brand name for the toy, or new logos and artwork.

NO REGISTERED DESIGN PROTECTION! – your disclosure at a trade show over 12 months ago will prevent you from gaining registered design protection in most countries.

Unregistered design protection & copyright – you may have unregistered design rights in the shape and configuration of the toy, at least in the UK and Europe, but this protection is limited in scope and time (and you would have to prove that an alleged infringer copied your design). You may have copyright in any literature and artwork you have produced.

Scenario 2 shows an example where valuable IP rights have been lost, which results in an increased likelihood of a competitor taking advantage of your efforts, and a loss of value to your company.

To avoid a scenario similar to scenario 2, if you have any new products, brands or designs that you intend to launch, and you believe may have associated IP rights, please contact us here.


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