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Ip Rights Comparison Table A4 Notes

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IP Right

What is protected?
New inventions and industrial processes


Confidenti al Informatio n

Secret information.

Owner is rewarded with the protection of an exclusive, monopoly right to use their invention for up to 20 years from the filing date. Gives owner the right to prevent others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without permission. This allows them to strike licensing deals or keep rivals at bay whilst they establish their brand. Protects the unauthorised disclosure of confidential info.

How is it obtained?



Registration required. Administered by Patents Office in UK. Patents typically take 2 to 3 years to be granted.

Invention must be new/novel, involve an inventive step and be capable of industrial application. Must not be within any exclusions Patent is granted in return for disclosing details of the invention to the whole world.

20 years from filing date.

Implied: Arises automatically. No registration is required. Protected by law of confidence. Express: By contract

Protected provided the info has the necessary quality of confidence about it and is disclosed in circ's importing an obligation of confidence.

Indefinite protection lasts as long as info is confidential. However nothing to stop competitors analysing your product to see how it's made. Lose protection if someone else discovers your secret -info is no longer confidential

Main source of law (UK) Patent Act 1977

Law of confidence/c ase law

Main international treaties You can protect your invention in many international jurisdictions by making an application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and making an application through WIPO or EPO.

International variations USA: 2 types of patent: utility patents - protects the functional aspects (similar to patents in other jurisdictions) &
design patents protects ornamental design of an article (similar to design right). Patent grant presumptive - burden is on the Patent Office to prove why a patent should not be granted.

Netherlands - not automatic for exemployee to have obligation of confidence in relation to employers sensitive info Italy - not very common to have post contractual obligations of confidence in employment contract France possibility of criminal sanction for breach.

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