Intellectual Property

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual Property (or IP)  is something you create using your brain - e.g a design, a story, an image, a work of art,  a logo, an invention, a piece of software, or even some text.

You own the IP, the copyright, unless you give it sell it to someone else - or unless you copied it, so that it isn't your IP at all.

As business is increasingly moving online, so do the  number of people involved in creating software increase, as do the amount of material needing copyright protection.

Licensing your IP

If you design software for use by other people, you will most likely want to give them a licence, while you retain ownership of the IP.

Our Software Licence, document A211 can be used for this.

If you are a website designer, you will probably want to retain the IP in your work and give your client a licence to use that website design.  We have a Website Design Agreement document A223 for this.

IP Assignment

You can protect some designs and inventions by registering them as trademarks or  patents.   And if you want to buy or sell those patents or trademarks you need a contract to record the transfer of ownership and the terms.

To  find out about UK trade mark registration click here.  And for patent information here

We can help with our Patent Assignment template, document A208, for use where you are buying or selling a patent. And we have a Trademark Assignment, A207, which does the same when a registered trademark is being bought or sold. Sand here is our Software Assignment

We also have a Domain Name Assignment or transfer agreement, A209.

Websites & E-commerce

When you establish a new website, be careful to use only designs and text that are your copyright or ones that you have a licence to use.

You do not have to put a copyright notice on your website: you automatically own the IP in your original work, but a notice can be useful. And more important, be careful not to copy someone else’s text or designs without their consent. Although there are millions of websites, it is quite easy to find out if someone has used copyright material from another website, and that can result in legal proceedings.   You can find a copyright notice in our Email & Legal Notices pack

Have a look at our Internet & E-commerce section for a wide range of documents to help you operate legally on the web, including  an Online Retailer's Pack of handy templates.

Confidentiality & NDAs

You may also be interested in ContractStore's Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure (NDA) contract templates to protect your business ideas.  These can be important if you have an invention or concept you want to develop with another person or organisation.