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Torfaen Business Voice August 2017 Newsletter

Torfaen Business Voice August 2017 Newsletter

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property and what it means to you Intellectual property (IP) is one of those terms you may hear talked about in business circles, but what is it and is it relevant to you? IP sounds very grandiose, but it is in fact a legal term for a group of rights that protect “creations of the mind”. From a day to day business perspective these might include copyright, patent, design right and trade mark. Copyright in its simplest form protects artistic and literary works. You may think this not relevant if you don’t publish books or sell paintings, but in fact artistic works can include your business logo, and photographs you use on your website and marketing material, whilst literary works will include your website and marketing written content. Copyright is an automatic right and arises at the point of creation, so there is no official registration system. You need to keep clear records of when material is created and who created it, just in case you need to prove this later. If you commissioned someone else to produce work, such as a photographer or designer, then you need to check the terms and conditions used. The default position at law is that the person you commissioned will own the rights unless the contract states to the contrary. Many business owners don’t realise that they may not own the rights to their logo, website or marketing material. Patents protect technical innovations and so will not be relevant to all businesses. Rules on patents are strict, and if you have already disclosed your innovation, such as displaying it at an exhibition, you will have removed the ability to seek valid patent protection. There are also certain general exclusions, such as business methods, software per se, and surgical procedures. Design rights protect what your product looks like. A registered design will protect features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament. A design must be new and give a different overall impression from any design that already exists to be valid. This is a very quick and cost-effective way to protect a product, but it does not protect any technical function, which can only be protected with a patent. In a market where look can be everything these can be very valuable rights.There are also unregistered rights, with different rules and scope for the UK and EU, but as with copyright, being able to demonstrate who created the design and when are critical. Trade marks are the legal way of protecting visual elements of brand identity, such as a product, service or business name, logo or strapline. They can also be used to protect elements of brand such as shape, sound and even smell! Descriptive and generic terms are generally excluded from protection. A registered trade mark is a very powerful way of protecting your brand elements, and these rights can potentially go on forever. Many small business owners wrongly believe that IP is not relevant to them. But there are many advantages to considering these rights: Risk management - Awareness of existing rights (registered rights are public record and can be searched), can help to avoid obvious conflicts and reduce the risk of litigation. Ownership - For many small businesses the assurance that they own that right can provide comfort and pride. Deterrent - As the rights are public, others may see them and be deterred from copying. Industry Kudos - It helps you get taken seriously in your marketplace when considered against larger companies. Valuable - Registered IP rights are valuable business assets, and can help with business value if you are seeking investment or looking at your exit strategy. Commercial Tool - If someone copies you can do something about it and preserve your business. With an understanding of the basics of what IP rights may be relevant to your business you can use these to help drive forward the growth of your business in the knowledge that you have the rights in place to challenge those who try to benefit off the back of your hard work. A Chartered Trade Mark Attorney or Chartered Patent Attorney will be able to assist to ensure that you get the most out of the IP system for your business. 6 TORFAEN BUSINESS VOICE | AUGUST 2017 NEWSLETTER

Thursday 23rd November 2017 4:30pm – 8:00pm Parkway Hotel & Spa, Cwmbran Drive, Cwmbran NP44 3UW Ladies... Do you run your own business? Are you involved in a management capacity for an organisation? Are you considering setting up your own enterprise? If yes, then join us for what promises to be another successful Torfaen Women in Business evening. Whether you’re based in Torfaen or the surrounding areas, you’ll find a warm welcome at this event which this year is supporting Ty Hafan. Don’t forget to ask your contacts, colleagues and clients to book too! @TorfaenBiz Why attend? / TorfaenEnterprise Torfaen Economy & Enterprise Make new contacts through the networking opportunities Enjoy a friendly atmosphere over a scrumptious High Tea Be inspired by our guest speakers Visit the trade and showcase tables Great value for money at just £10 per ticket* Guest speaker - Jean Church, National Chair - Institute of Directors For more information and booking, visit: Showcase your business Display a pop-up banner for £20* Limited number of trade tables available £30 each* *Prices excluding VAT. All profits donated to Ty Hafan Chwarae Teg Drop In Session Do you want to bring out the leader in you and better your chances of a brighter future? Do you want your business and your staff to succeed, grow and prosper? If you are an aspiring team leader looking to develop your skills, knowledge and confidence, then now is the ideal time to make yourself stand out from the crowd. #MAKEYOURSELF Women and businesses all over Wales are looking ahead to the future. Make yourself stand out from the crowd. The Women’s programme will bring out the team leader in you. Benefit from a fully funded Career Development Programme. The Employer’s Programme brings you a fully funded, bespoke business support to get the most from your team. If you would like to find out more about Chwarae Teg and the programmes on offer, pop along to the free drop in session on: Thursday 28 September 2017 9:00—13:00 Springboard Business Innovation Centre, Cwmbran, NP44 3AW. Refreshments : Tea/Coffee & Biscuits TORFAEN BUSINESS VOICE | AUGUST 2017 NEWSLETTER 7

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