How To Navigate Intellectual Property Law

If you’re an entrepreneur, you likely have a great idea for a new product or service. But before you can bring your idea to market, you need to understand the basics of intellectual property (IP) law.

If you don’t, you could end up spending a lot of money on legal fees or, worse, get sued for infringing on someone else’s IP.

So read ahead to learn what intellectual property is, what IP law is, the four key segments of IP law, and how you can protect your intellectual property.

What Is Intellectual Property?

Many people are confused about what intellectual property means. However, we are surrounded by it everywhere. As IP lawyers at LegalVision UK explain, Intellectual property is the ownership and usage rights of anything created by the mind.

Innovations, product designs, software, products, branding, and the like all fall under the ambit of intellectual property, and it is a broad categorization that covers patents, copyrights, designs, and trademarks.

What Is Intellectual Property Law?

The law’s foundational purpose in any state is to protect an individual’s rights — to own property, own goods, run businesses, etc. By extension, the law also protects “intangible assets” such as ideas and innovations.

The function of intellectual property law is to credit true innovators and inventors for their labor and ideas. The concept emerged as a protection mechanism largely applicable to corporations, scientific pursuits, and the entertainment industry.

IP law helps create societies where development, improvement, and specialization are encouraged and facilitated.

Navigating IP helps businesses establish themselves within the industry, improve their value proposition, and attract investments.

Understanding and navigating the minefield that can be IP is much easier when you understand the language and the legalese.

Read on to find out how you can best mitigate the world of IP and its legal particulars.

The 4 Key Segments Of Intellectual Property Law

Here is an explanation of the four key areas of intellectual property law.


Trademarks are indicators of a brand or product that are distinguishable from others within the same industry.

It doesn’t necessarily have to describe or be completely in line with the features of the goods or services you offer. But it does have to be different, noticeably so, from others within the same industry.


Patents are the second important category that IP law seeks to protect. These are generally levied on inventions, improvisations, and innovations.

The product or service must be sufficiently innovative enough for the creator to file for and cover themselves under patent law protection. It must also have a technical and observable function to be covered under patents.

The product or service must be sufficiently innovative enough for the creator to file for and be covered under patent law protection. It must also have a technical and observable function to be covered under patents.

Tweaking or modifying previous products and services doesn’t guarantee a patent.

Suggested reading: 3 Patenting Challenges and How FinTech Companies Can Overcome Them


Copyrights are the most common exercise undertaken in academia and the entertainment industry. To be covered under copyright protections, the content must be novel, independent, and original.

Ideas to undertake something — or brainstorming for the work — isn’t covered under copyright protections. Instead, a physical and tangibly observable copy of the work has to exist to be covered under copyright protections.

Registered Designs

Registered designs offer broad intellectual property coverage in industries such as architecture, landscaping, and some forms of art.

The design must be novel, and much like patents, it must be kept confidential before applying for registered design protections.

Sometimes, sufficiently different designs that are distinguishable from others in the same industry can also be covered under registered design protections.

The registered design offers limited protection in that it does not apply to the function of the project but rather simply its design (3D or 2D).

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property?

Here are some ways in which you can protect your intellectual property.

Understand The Fundamentals

It is no use trying to master the nitty-gritty of what can be a complicated legal scenario. However, much like everything else, understanding the fundamentals of IP law gives you an edge in using its protections. 

Whether you are a business owner, an innovator, or an artist, the IP provisions will apply to your field. So it’s a good idea to consult an IP attorney and read about specific cases within your industry to be able to mitigate an IP issue should it arise.

Make Sure You Are Covered

The first step to success for any innovator, artist, or entrepreneur is filing for IP protection. Consult an attorney to advise you on what you should be filing for as per your situation — patents, copyrights, registered designs, or trademarks.

Some products/services require more than one protection, and you sure don’t want to leave a loophole for someone else to benefit from your hard work or creative genius.

Formulate A Licensing Agreement

The best way to solidify and collectivize your IP strategy is to make a licensing agreement. This licensing agreement outlines the rules, usage, and conditions for using your IP.

It is a legally binding document that you can use as evidence in a court of law, should the need ever arise. You should hire a lawyer to devise your agreement to make sure it is best suited to your requirements.

Keep Revisiting Your IP Strategy

It’s not enough to curate and license an intellectual property strategy — you need to keep up with your agreements. In fact, it may be a good idea to hire managers that can reassess and revisit your IP strategy at frequent intervals during the year.

Since IP law developments are frequent, you shouldn’t get complacent and manage your IP strategy proactively to prevent future strife.


The minefield that IP law seems like to novice traders, artists, and designers can be easily navigated. All you need is to cover the basics, hire attorneys to advise you, and keep in line with whatever strategies you have devised.

Remember, the consequences of getting complacent are IP theft, where all your hard work could go to waste!

Lavanya Rathnam

Lavanya Rathnam is an experienced technology, finance, and compliance writer. She combines her keen understanding of regulatory frameworks and industry best practices with exemplary writing skills to communicate complex concepts of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) in clear and accessible language. Lavanya specializes in creating informative and engaging content that educates and empowers readers to make informed decisions. She also works with different companies in the Web 3.0, blockchain, fintech, and EV industries to assess their products’ compliance with evolving regulations and standards.

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