Saturday, 16 March 2013

A Crafter's Guide to Intellectual Property part 2

Continuing from the last post, which covered copyright and design.


A patent protects a new invention – either a product or a process – which has some use. As well as being both new and useful, the product or process must be original to the extent that it must contain an inventive step which is not obvious, even to a person with knowledge and experience in the subject with which the invention deals or is involved.

There is also a range of inventions which cannot be patented, from mathematical or scientific theories, to breeds of animals and anything 'against public policy or morality' – the full list is available here on the IPO's website. 

The application process for a patent can be lengthy, costly and time-consuming. Fees to the IPO range from £230 upwards and patent lawyers are among the highest paid in a high paid profession.


A trademark (often referred to as a brand) is a distinctive sign which distinguishes your goods and services from those of your competitors. It can be words, logos or a combination of both. 

There are strict rules about what is and what is not considered an acceptable trademark – some of the rules are obvious, some not so obvious. 

The IPO has all the information – see here  and here

The only way to register your trade mark is to apply to the Intellectual Property Office, and to renew the registration periodically. An application for trademark registration starts at £170.

The above information is relevant to the UK only. I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be one on the internet. If you need legal advice, ask a lawyer. If you want to know more about IP, read the wealth of information on

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