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As reported by the BBC, last month, a jury awarded technology giant Apple $1.05bn (£644m) damages from Samsung after finding it had infringed several of Apple’s design and software patents.
The jury rejected the South Korean firm’s counterclaims that the iPhone-maker had failed to license its technologies.
But Apple is seeking a sales ban on eight of the handsets involved in the case. The verdict has proved hugely controversial. Samsung plans to appeal, and has warned that customers face “fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices” if it fails.
For its part Apple has said the lawsuit was about values, and the verdict sent “a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right”.
At Inspired, we wanted the lowdown on UK patents, copyrights and licensing so we asked our Resident Business Guru Sarah Brockwell of sarahBee marketing.
“In the UK, all matters relating to copyright, patents, trademarks and design protection are overseen by the Intellectual Property Office”, said Sarah.
At some stage most businesses will come across Intellectual Property issues and although the law sounds scary it is easy to ascertain the rights and wrongs.
“I recently met with a top Expert from the Intellectual Property Office, said Sarah, and the following is a summary direct from the horse’s mouth”.
Patents protect the features and processes that make things work. This lets inventors profit from their inventions
A trade mark is a sign which can distinguish your goods and services from those of your competitors (you may refer to your trade mark as your “brand”). It can be for example words, logos or a combination of both. The only way to register your trade mark is to apply to – The Intellectual Property Office. You can use your trade mark as a marketing tool so that customers can recognise your products
Trademarks are acceptable if they are distinctive for the goods and services you provide. In other words they can be recognised as signs that differentiates your goods or service as different from someone else’s.
You may be familiar with the trade marks above. They don’t describe the goods or
services, which is why they are good examples of registrable trade marks.
Design is all about the way an object looks: its shape, its visual appeal…it’s all in the design.
• Ideas and concepts for inventions are not patentable
• Trade marks must be distinctive for your goods or services
• Design protection relates to the appearance of a product
Copyright is automatic so there are no fees to pay or forms to fill in
Copyright gives the creators of a wide range of material, such as literature, art, music, sound recordings, films and broadcasts, economic rights enabling them to control use of their material in a number of ways, such as by making copies, issuing copies to the public, performing in public, broadcasting and use ,on-line. It also gives moral rights to be identified as the creator of certain kinds of material, and to object to distortion or mutilation of it (Material protected by copyright is termed a “work”.)
However, copyright does not protect ideas, or such things as names or titles.
For more information visit www.ipo.gov.uk