An IP, or an Intellectual Property, is usually a design that has been registered in a way that stops people from intentionally and unintentionally steeling a piece of work done by someone. There are two different ways in which an IP can be protected, either through Coppyright or Patent.
What is a Patent and what are the conditions for a Patent?
A Patent is focused around technical aspects of IP’s. In the UK, you can patent anything so long as it is new, not obvious, and has a useful application. You can not patent procedures, scientific laws, discoveries or procedures, rules for games, computer programs or anything else that could theoretically squash competition or further development into specific fields.
A patent is important when it comes to technical things to help establish who has created what and to avoid someone from straight up ripping off someone else’s design without paying royalties.
What is a Copyright and what are the conditions for Copyright?
A copyright is another field of law that protects someone who creates something that could be stolen. Copyright is a little different in that it protects a name or design and allows the Copyright holder to have complete control over how their copyrighted work is used.
Generally, all work is Copyrighted for around 15 years after the creation and without legal backing surrounding it. Creators can then extend the time past that point to around 25 years. There is also the ability to extend that time further by renewing copyright. Not registering an IP can have issues since none registered IP’s are harder to protect in a court of law when working to protect an IP.
Also, the creator doesn’t always have control over an IP. IP rights can be transferred to the people that commissioned the work due to how some contracts surrounding commissioned work are written.
Overall both Patents and Copyright’s are there to protect an IP from being infringed upon since someone steeling a design can have negative consequences on the IP holder. For instance, if a company started selling Batman themed objects for cheep and some of these objects break, that would look bad on the behalf of Warner Brothers who own the rights to Batman. This then infringes negatively on the Batman IP and could scare away investors.