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
Copyrights, designs, trade marks and patents 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 any words you have written do.
Owning intellectual property
You own intellectual property if you:
• created it (and meet the requirements for a copyright, patent, or design)
• bought intellectual property rights from the creator or a previous owner
• have a brand that could be a trade mark, e.g. a well-known product name
You usually won’t own the intellectual property for something you created as part of your work while you were employed by someone else.
Intellectual property can:
• have more than one owner
• belong to people or businesses
• be sold or transferred
Protecting your intellectual property
Protecting your intellectual property makes it easier to take legal action against anyone who tries to steal or copy it. The type of property you can get depends on what you’ve created. Some types of intellectual property, such as copyright, are automatic. Others must be applied for:
Trade are the means by which a trader identifies their goods or services (e.g. product names, logos, jingles).
A trade mark can be thought of as a brand. Trade marks that are used in connection with services are called service marks. The basic rules for registration of service marks are the same as those for trade marks. The trade mark or service mark owner can be an individual, business organization, or any legal entity, and do not have to be Bermudian.
A design consists of the visual and/or ornamental characteristics applied to an article of manufacture or the outward appearance of an article of manufacture. It can apply to the shape, configuration, appearance and/or surface ornamentation of a thing.
A patent is a monopoly right granted to the inventor or discoverer of any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or of any new and useful improvement for a process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter.
Domain names are the addresses you use when navigating the internet or sending emails. They work a little like phone numbers, enabling computers using the internet to find specific locations (such as a website or an email inbox). A domain name can be used in the place of a string of numbers called an Internet Protocol address – commonly known as an IP address. In a web address, the domain name is the words that come after www. and in an email address it comes after the @ symbol.
Just as in a telephone directory, there needs to be a system in place to make sure each address connects to the place it should. This is where the Domain Name System (DNS) comes in, by putting in place a set of rules to ensure each domain name is unique.