What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual Property covers such things as copyright, trade marks, patents, designs and business reputation. The rights associated with intellectual property are simply the right to stop others using the right concerned without the permission of the owner. The rights can either be registered, as in the case of patents and trade marks, or unregistered as in the case of copyright and passing off. The period of protection varies considerably, so in the case of registered trademarks provided the renewal fees paid can go on forever, and in the case of patents just twenty years. Copyright exists usually for the lifetime of the author and seventy years thereafter, and design rights for between fifteen and twentyfive years from creation.Similar rights exist in databases, computer chip topography and what are called moral rights.All these rights can be enforced by infringement proceedings, and remedies include injunctions, damages, account of profits, search orders and costs.Neil Maybury has been a leading intellectual property law specialist for over thirty years. Formerly head of IP at Pinsent & Co (now Pinsent Masons) and then head of IP at DLA (Now DLA Piper Carey), he joined Setfords two years ago. He specialises in all aspects of intellectual property law both contentious and non-contentious.