Intellectual Property – The Challenges of Protecting Ideas 

Uncategorized Oct 29, 2018

Everything begins with an idea. Every idea invariably results in an intangible manifestation of it once it’s brought into the real world.

Even if the idea involves creating something tangible, say a new gin, so that you have a physical end product – a bottle of gin - many components that are necessary to the existence of that product will be intangibles. There’s the brand name, the logo, product packaging, appearance or shape of the bottle, any website, marketing collateral and social media profiles, and the gin formula itself.

Intellectual property law is the legal area that governs intangibles, so it has a significant role in today’s digital world. Nowadays knowledge fuels our economy so that most assets of our businesses tend to be digital.  Our increasingly digital society makes intellectual property of central relevance. The term “Intellectual property” covers a large area of law, including patents, trademarks, copyright, designs...

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Copyright Basics

Uncategorized Oct 22, 2018

A basic, fundamental question people often ask me is What exactly is Copyright?

Of course, people have heard the term and have a basic understanding, but often there are gaps in their knowledge, or confusion around particular facets of the subject. 

Sometimes I’m asked for examples of copyright, or why it’s important to have copyright, and how to avoid copyright problems and so on.

Copyright is a large subject and has many different facets to it.

My aim in this blog is to answer 3 essential questions about what copyright is by giving you

  1. Examples of copyright
  2. Reasons why you might want to have copyright.
  3. Some ideas for how to avoid some common copyright problems.

These are three essential, need to know pieces of information about copyright. As copyright is a large subject you’re bound to have plenty of questions. Do feel free to ask them in the comments below.

Examples of what copyright protects.

Copyright is a type of intellectual...

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How Knowing About Intellectual Property Limitations Increases Your Commercial Savviness

Uncategorized Oct 14, 2018

Google is an example of a company that has built itself into one of the largest brands on earth thanks in many ways to its intellectual property. Its brand was worth $100 billion dollars in 2017.

Google’s IP includes its search algorithm, know-how, patents, copyrights and its trademarks. A highly important component of its IP will be Google’s know-how which is kept confidential, so users have difficulty gaming the system.

Otherwise, Google’s reliability as a search engine would be damaged if inappropriate websites could readily appear prominently in search results.  The less relevant a search result is when a user searches for something, the less likely they would be to turn to Google next time they needed to search for something. So, a lot hangs on keeping its methodology and other secrets to itself, and even making changes every so often to keep the algorithm fresh and unknown to the world at large.

Confidentiality and other intellectual property rights play...

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4 Ways in Which You Can Increase Your Business’ Value Without Focusing on Turnover

Uncategorized Oct 07, 2018

Building your business’ Intellectual Capital is the way to increase the value of the business because it’s the intangible assets that account for most of the value of corporates nowadays – as much as 70-80% - rather than the tangible machines, buildings and other hard assets.

I’ll be coming back to this theme again and again in future blogs because I see some entrepreneurs dealing with their IP registrations and compliance with a minimal understanding of Intellectual Property, and its role in bolstering these intangible assets. 

I often wonder if those same people would deal with their own physical property transactions with so little background understanding of the transaction.

It’s important to note that intellectual property is PROPERTY and therefore needs careful handling. There are courses like Legally Branded Academy which is suitable for established businesses and startups. So, if you haven’t already taken the time to understand...

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Brand Names and Trademarks – What We Can Learn From Oscar Wilde

Uncategorized Oct 01, 2018

 Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, says

‘It had always been a girlish dream of mine to love someone whose name was Ernest. There is something in that name that seems to inspire absolute confidence.’

In this quote Oscar Wilde captures the significance of names. How a name alone can lead to our having faith in a person called Ernest. We subconsciously form an impression of the individual as someone serious in intent or purpose, and sincere.

From this it’s clear that a mere name evokes certain reactions and emotional responses.

So, bear this in mind when you’re naming anything in your business. The name can give customers an idea or feeling about your business even before they have experienced working with you.

Names are hugely important in terms of your intellectual property as they contain the value of your brand. So, they deserve serious attention.

After all your name is the first thing to come out of your mouth every time you pitch...

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How to Protect Ideas Against theft by Competitors and Others

Uncategorized Sep 24, 2018

Pablo Picasso reportedly said, “Good artists copy; great artists steal.” The general thrust of this quote is right in that thieves and copycats are as common in business as in any other walk of life.

Confidentiality is one of the Core 3 IP rights that you should understand well because it plays an important part in business protection, particularly around ideas, systems, processes and your database.

You may think intellectual property is there to protect ideas.

We humans the world over are territorial. Just think of land border disputes, garden fences, your favourite mug in the office or even leaning on your partner at a party, subconsciously letting everyone know that they are taken.

We even have designated spaces where we live, work and socialise. In a civilised society, everything has its place, and we have grown accustomed over the millennia, to assuming that others will respect these boundaries, as we put them up.

From a biological perspective, we became...

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What Is Intellectual Property? And Why Do You Need To Know About It?

Uncategorized Sep 18, 2018

Let me start by asking you a question. Why are you in business? Or why are you planning to start one? What’s your motivation? Do you hope to make it big, be the next Richard Branson or Anita Roddick? Or are you just intending to be self-employed?  Certainly, when I founded my law firm, Azrights 13 years ago all I wanted was to work flexibly while raising my 2 daughters. However, aspirations change over time. I discovered a love of entrepreneurship and my ambitions grew. You may find your aspirations change over time. Bear them in mind as the IP actions you need to take do depend on the direction you’re taking.


IP for small business


I’ve had 20 years’ experience in IP work now, but when I founded Azrights I’d just worked on the IP projects of blue chip companies like Reuters where I’d been an in-house lawyer. Due to the enquiries we were receiving at Azrights I became aware of the problems small businesses encounter with IP....

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Trade mark searching: A glimpse into the future?

Uncategorized Sep 17, 2018

Trade mark registration is the way to own a brand name, and those who are familiar with trademarks likely appreciate the importance of taking steps to ensure their brands are available, and securing them early on when launching new products or services.

In line with such good practice, businesses typically register trademarks well in advance of their new products hitting the market place, and this can have an interesting side effect: speculation.

The trademark registers are public, which means that anyone can commission a search to discover whether someone has already claimed rights to a brand name they are considering before they invest on marketing, graphics, websites and so on. This is a central function of the registers, putting others on notice of your rights, and as part of the registration process trade mark applications are in fact advertised in a journal, giving other businesses the opportunity to object if, for example, a mark applied for is confusingly similar to their...

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Blogging Without Infringing

Uncategorized Sep 10, 2018

In my previous post, I looked at the issue of protecting your blog content and identity. This blog briefly looks at some of the issues concerning the inclusion of other people’s materials in your content.

As I mentioned in the last blog, as a blogger you need to look in both directions when it comes to intellectual property (“IP”). In particular, you should ensure that what appears on your blog – be it text, photos, or comments – does not infringe the IP rights of someone else.

Before you launch your blog, with your new blog identity, you should carry out trade mark searches to make sure your name, tagline and logo don’t infringe the registered trade marks of another person or company.

Public domain and copyright

Moreover, make sure the contents of your blog presence don’t infringe someone else’s copyright. Content is not necessarily in the public domain just because it is freely available to access on the Internet. Unless you have...

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How Not To Grow A Business – My Experience Since Starting Azrights

Uncategorized Sep 03, 2018

When I set up Azrights back in 2004/5 it was after a few years bringing up my daughters. I had no existing client base so I built it from the ground up.

Luckily, I discovered a love for entrepreneurship which saw me through the extremely steep learning curve to develop my marketing and business skills. The IP work I’d done before had been for big blue chip companies whose needs and focus are very different to that of SMEs. As SMEs were my target clients. I had to discover their needs, and learn how to communicate to them.  

In due course my ambitions for the business soon had me renting a big office and recruiting a team to fill it.  The only trouble was that the role of managing the office fell on me as the owner of the business. Yet I need flexibility and freedom, and found the need to supervise an office felt like having a job all over again. 

I made the best of it for years although I increasingly felt like a slave to this monster I had...

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