Copyrights and trade marks
Copyright is a property right of a person in relation to their published and unpublished:
- literary work
- dramatic works
- scientific works
- musical works
- artistic works
provided that they are in a real form.
This means that if you can see it, hear it and/or touch it then the creator may own it.
Copyright can be applied to almost anything. We tend to think of it in terms of a book, a sound recording, a film or play, or a scientific discovery it can equally be applied to a photograph, a computer graphic or an original dance.
Copyright laws grant the creator the exclusive right to:
- prepare derivative works
- display the work publicly
More information on copyright can be obtained from the UK Intellectual Property Office.
Producers of branded goods such as sportswear, computer games, watches and perfumes, can protect their name, logo or design in the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man by registering it with the Trade Marks Registry in the UK’s Patent Office. These registered names, logos or designs are referred to as Trade Marks.
By registering a Trade Mark a producer is able to take court action against anyone using their Trade Mark without their authority.
Counterfeiting and the improper use of registered Trade Marks has reached epidemic proportions in certain parts of the world in recent years.
These activities not only damage reputable manufacturers and producers of branded goods and lead to major job losses - it is thought that 100,000 jobs per year are lost in the UK and European Union as a result of counterfeiting - but also affect consumers with goods often being of poor quality or at worst, being unsafe because they are not made to the correct safety standards.
It has been found that a considerable proportion of the receipts from counterfeiting has been used to fund criminal and terrorist activities.
Anyone who supplies counterfeit goods for a profit, such as in the course of a business, is likely to commit a criminal offence and be subject to heavy fines and/or imprisonment.
The Office of Fair Trading Standards Officers enforce the criminal provisions of the Trade Marks Act 1994, which is an Act of the UK Parliament extended to the Isle of Man. These powers protect owners of registered Trade Marks and the Office has brought successful prosecutions against those selling counterfeit goods in the Island.
If you would like to know more about trade marks, patents and copyright, the UK Patent Office produces an excellent range of informative literature.