Intellectual Property Office
Intellectual Property Office is an operating name of the Patent Office.
We are the United Kingdom's principal authority on intellectual property (IP) with responsibility for granting patents, registering trademarks and designs, and leading on policy for all IP including copyright.
We are an Executive Agency of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) .
We promote innovation by providing a clear, accessible and widely understood IP system, which enables the economy and society to benefit from knowledge and ideas.
The UK's economy thrives on innovative products and services, the use of intellectual property rights protect, define and reward creativity. There are four types of Intellectual Property;
Patents protect new technology for both products and processes. Patent owners can enjoy exclusive rights to their inventions for up to 20 years, enabling them to strike licensing deals or keep rivals at bay whilst they establish their brand. The public benefits from seeing details of inventions when published, and can use that information as a springboard for their own innovations.
Trade marks can be registered to protect the distinctive names, logos, slogans or other signs of a trader's products or services. The marks can be licensed or franchised to others, or used exclusively by the brand owner to distinguish themselves from rivals and retain the goodwill and reputation vested in their name.
Designs for products or graphic symbols can be registered so as to protect the distinctive outward appearance of a new product. Where a product's 'look' gives it market share, e.g. in fashion, domestic appliances or furniture, protecting the design is essential for dealing with 'copycats'.
Copyright is free and automatic – no registration is required.
Books, papers and magazines, music, artwork and photographs, films, television and radio programmes, software and computer games are all protected by copyright. The owner of copyright can licence copies or adaptations of the work (e.g. translations; movie rights to a book etc).