April 26th marks World Intellectual Property Day. Established in 2000 by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the event aims to “highlight the role that intellectual property (IP) rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity.” Knowledge of IP is crucial for people who want to protect their work and make a return on their investment. This year, World Intellectual Property Day focuses on Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity.
“Women in all regions are shaping the world through their imagination, ingenuity and hard work, but often face significant challenges in accessing the knowledge, skills, resources and support they need to thrive.”
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property is something original that you create, ranging from artwork to a piece of technology. The main types of IP covered in the UK are trademarks, patents, designs and copyright. An awareness of IP is important. While you don’t want people stealing your unique ideas, you also want to ensure you’re not unintentionally infringing upon someone else’s intellectual property.
Intellectual Property and Open-Source
An increasingly popular business model is the use of open-source licensing. Open source often refers to software but can also apply to hardware. For example, Prusa uses this model for their 3D printers. Under this license, people can access, use, modify and distribute your product’s software. However, it’s important to note that open source can be protected by intellectual property rights, such as patents and copyright.
While open-source may not be appropriate for every project, we often recommend it to businesses early on in their venture or have created a new product that people will know nothing about. It’s a fantastic way to publicise your product and company, alongside making your product more valuable by expanding your potential customer base. Providing insight into the depth and complexity behind your product can give your business a competitive advantage!
DefProc & IP
As a design engineering company, DefProc is adept at dealing with IP. Navigating IP rights can be challenging, and that is where we step in to help clients devise something original. Our innovative products often generate IP for the client. We are knowledgeable about existing IP patents and designs and can create something unique for our client’s project. For some clients, creating IP may be the sole aim of their project. H2Go is an example of this. We developed a low-cost domestic hydrogen sensor prototype. This project will form the blueprint for future domestic hydrogen sensors and will be passed on to manufacturers so they can create their own sensors based on our client’s IP. As product designers, at the end of the project, we hand over any IP to the client so they can take the finished product away and patent it if they choose and generate more revenue. This also allows them to maintain control over their product.
If you’re in the early stages of product development and would like help with IP, DefProc Engineering can help you with this process. Contact us for a free consultation, and let us know what we can assist you with.