This session provided businesses with some surprising facts and useful tips given by Penina Shepherd and Clive Bonny . Tom Ottway, of Language Umbrella reports...
"If you use a freelancer to create your logo or do some coding they own the IP unless you get them to 'assign' IP to you when you hire them."
You own your own IP automatically, unless 1) you are employed by someone 2) you assign IP in writing. Verbal doesn't count!
If you use a freelancer to create your logo or do some coding they own the IP unless you get them to 'assign' IP to you when you hire them, so you need to make sure this is clear when you hire a freelancer by using an 'IP chapter' with a properly drafted assignment in an Assignment Agreement or a Freelancer Agreement.
600, 000 companies registered with Companies House in the UK last year but less than 10% have registered their company name and logo with a trademark.
There is no copyright in titles and names, but you can 'trademark' your company name for £170. However, it will cost another £100-200 to get a lawyer to do the checks for other registered or unregistered marks if you want to be sure.
Companies who seek investment are far more likely to be successful if they have robust protection for IP. Similarly, if you are selling a business, its worth is in IP, your logo and branding, coding and client-base, so protect it!
If you don't protect IP properly, you could be put out of business. Clive Bonny gave the example of Trunki https://www.trunki.co.uk/, who didn't trade mark their kids' suitcases in the correct class (design derivation) so lost a staggering £6 million in sales to a rival, kidee (see this link I have found with the full story: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/mar/09/kiddee-trumps-trunki-in-battle-of-the-suitcases )
If you are protected, say this on your website! Shout about it.
Conform also to data protection rules and provide training on this- it costs only about £35 per year.
Ensure your freelance web designer hasn't used photos which are copywritten or you could be liable for this infringement, in the £££s.
If you have a great idea with a friend or new contact- even one which you've excitedly come up with in the pub, ensure you enter into a Joint Venture Agreement at the earliest point so that you have an equal right over the IP. And for photographers and other creatives, ensure you have a time-stamped record of your ideas and images, songs etc; send them to yourself by email so there's a record they are yours!
"If you don't protect IP properly, you could be
put out of business."
This was the blurb from Wired Sussex, who put on this great and thought-provoking event:
Clive Bonny is a qualified trademark agent, IPO listed mediator and Responsible Business Standards advisor. He has helped design the online Intellectual Property Office training modules for employers to capitalise their intellectual property and create business sustainability. Clive also provides due diligence Check-Invest reports for crowdfunders, investors and entrepreneurs to reduce risk and improve investability to raise finance.
Penina Shepherd is the founder of Acumen Business Law, an award winning and innovative business law firm with a clear vision to change the way in which legal services are being provided in the market place. Penina can help identify all your intellectual property needs to help you realise your assets and bring you in to the knowledge economy.