I want to know what
Another word for a lawyer – someone with the appropriate legal qualifications to advise people on legal matters and represent them and their interests.
Copyright is one form of intellectual property – basically it’s the ownership of how something is written down, be it in words, music or pictures. Copyright is what protect artists, authors and musicians from having their work reproduced without them being acknowledged as the owner of their work – and, usually, getting paid for it. But it’s not just art that can be copyright – anything from advertising messages to family photos can be owned as intellectual property.
A ‘chartered’ professional – such as a chartered patent attorney – is someone who belongs to an organisation that protects the professionalism of their industry. It’s a sign that they’re properly qualified and – in order the stay in the chartered profession – they have to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.
They’re called ‘chartered’ because the professional body that they join is given a special licence called a Royal Charter by the Queen to act as the official organisation for that profession.
In many professions, it’s illegal to offer your service unless you’re a member of the chartered professional body.
In the context of intellectual property, a design is more than just how a things looks. It’s the use of art and science to improve how an object looks, how it works, how easy it is to use or make, or how marketable it is. If it can be defined as original and unique, then it’s intellectual property than be owned.
Did you know?
In 1963 a teenager, who had invented a quick-release ratchet, sold the patent to Sears for who told him it was valueless. They gave him just $10,000, but went on to make $44 million from his invention.
Intellectual property – or ‘IP’ – is anything that might be worth something, but where the valuable bit is more of an idea than a physical object.
A house is ‘property’, because there’s something physical there. The design for a house, on the other hand, is intellectual property because, even when it’s drawn out on blueprints, it’s the idea that’s valuable, not the paper it’s printed on.
Even once the house is built, the intellectual property still exists separately because it can be used to build more houses.
If you want to use someone else’s intellectual property – whether it’s a patent, music rights, or a celeb’s face that you want to put on a lunchbox – then you need to get a licence from them.
A paralegal is a legal assistant – someone with a good enough understanding of the law to support the work of a qualified lawyer, but who’s not qualified in law themselves.
When you’ve invented something, you may want to make sure other people can’t nick your idea. You need a patent.
A patent is a special licence that recognises that what you’ve created belongs to you and can’t be copied by other people without your permission – for which you might ask them to pay a fee.
So that you can protect your patent, legal documents have to be drawn up and approved by the relevant authorities in the UK (The Patent Office) and abroad. They have to be done in the right way otherwise your patent may not be recognised or it may not be what’s needed to stop people from copying your idea.
Patents can applied for by individuals, companies or universities and researchers.
Short for ‘research and development’ – the department of a firm that works on new product ideas, inventing, building prototypes, testing and refining. It’s often top secret work at the cutting edge of technology.
Did you know?
No one knows who invented the fire hydrant. Its patent was destroyed in a fire.
A trade mark is whatever it is that makes a brand recognisable. It can be the name, the design, the slogan, even a particular colour. Being able to protect it is important to stop someone from selling chocolate bars called Cabdury’s in a purple wrapper, stealing business and disappointing chocoholics. That’s what the little ‘TM’ means after a logo: it’s a trade mark. And the little ® is a trade mark that’s been registered.