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Patents are rights granted in respect of an invention or other technical improvement. Patents are applied for and are usually issued by a state or regional Patent Office. Patent applications are examined by the relevant patent office. The application process usually involves public disclosure of the invention. If granted, a patent can provide exclusive rights to exploit the patent for a period of up to twenty years.
Copyright is a right to prevent copying of literary and artistic works. It arises automatically once the relevant work is recorded in some permanent form. It protects the creations of authors, artists, composers and software engineers./span>
Trademarks are a form of legal protection for the goodwill and reputation of a business or a brand. Trademarks and logos are a means by which consumers can distinguish between competing goods and services. Registered trademarks are the strongest form of protection for a trade name, a logo or a brand. Gordon MacRae & Co can deal with UK, European and international registrations. Gordon MacRae & Co can assist with all other matters concerning trademarks. Please see our Services section for further details of our trademark services.
Design rights fall into two broad categories. These are registered designs and the unregistered design right introduced in the UK in 1988. Registered design rights protect the design for a product, its appearance, lines, contours, shape, texture or materials, or its ornamentation. Types of products covered include any industrial or handicraft items as well as packaging, get up and parts for a more complex product. This type of protection is available under UK law for a maximum of five periods each of five years. This results in a maximum of twenty five years protection.
Unregistered design rights within the UK are either the European Union Unregistered Design Right, which is less extensive, and for a shorter three year period, or the UK Unregistered Design Right, which may only exist where artistic copyright in industrial production of shaped articles is not available. The UK Unregistered Design Right can exist alongside a Registered Design Right taken out in respect of the same article.
Plant Variety Rights exist at both a European Union level and under UK law. They are used to protect the identification of special varieties of plant. Patent protection may also be available for some technical developments for plant or animal varieties.