The Intellectual Property Office

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.

What is Intellectual Property?

A quick intro to intellectual property from the IPO.

What is intellectual property?

Having the right type of intellectual property protection helps you to stop people stealing or copying:

  • The names of your products or brands
  • Your inventions
  • The design or look of your products
  • Things you write, make or produce.

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.

What counts as intellectual property

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.

Owning intellectual property

You own intellectual property if you:

  • Created it (and it meets the requirements for copyright, a patent or a design)
  • Bought intellectual property rights from the creator or a previous owner
  • Have a brand that could be a trade mark, eg a well-known product name.

A Gradcracker advertiser for at least five years - ideal for your shortlist!

We work in the following sector

  • Intellectual Property

Employee Profiles

Helen Yard - MChem Chemistry with Medicinal Sciences

"The IPO offers a friendly and relaxed environment, making it enjoyable to work here."

Oscar Hummerstone - BSc Mechanical Engineering and MSc Computer Science

"As my experience has increased I’ve been given more autonomy, while also being..."

Watch our videos

Watch more of our videos »

More on our Hub

View our blogs

The IPO is the UK’s principal authority on patents, trademarks, designs and copyright.
We’re a team of over 1,000 with an office in Newport, South Wales.
Although we were set up in 1852, the origins of the patent system date back a further 400 years.
Patent examining offers an opportunity to combine your scientific & technical knowledge with legal skills.
Over 600 students have Followed us on Gradcracker.
A Gradcracker advertiser for over 5 years - ideal for you to !
Member No: 154