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The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) plays a key role in helping innovative companies to grow.
The UK's economy thrives on innovative products and services, and the use of Intellectual Property (IP) rights protect, define and reward creativity. We are the United Kingdom's principal authority on IP, with responsibility for granting patents, registering trademarks and designs, and developing IP policy.
Patents help companies benefit from their R&D and innovation by protecting new technology for both products and methods of manufacture. 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.
In exchange for this 20 year monopoly the public is given full access to the details of the inventions, and can use that information as a springboard for their own innovations.
Having the right type of intellectual property protection helps you to stop people stealing or copying:
Copyright, patents, designs and trade marks are all types of intellectual property protection. You get some types of protection automatically, others you have to apply for.
Intellectual property is something unique that you physically create. An idea alone is not intellectual property. For example, an idea for a book doesn’t count, but the words you’ve written do.
You own intellectual property if you: