The Great British Bake Off (GBBO) recently jumped off the BBC bandwagon and, it would seem, is now headed to Channel 4 to continue bringing the best of amateur bakers onto our TV screens. Whilst die-hard fans will, no doubt, mourn the absence of crowd favourite Mary Berry, the move to Channel 4 highlights the importance of protecting your intellectual property rights. By maintaining intellectual property (IP) rights to the show’s format, GBBO’s producer, Love Productions, were able to generate a broadcast bidding war and emerge with a pretty good payday out of the channel switch (some £25million, if the rumours are to be believed!). Such a move goes to show that keeping a firm grip on your IP really is the bread and butter of business success.
So putting the cakes to one side, what has been going on in the IP world? Technology seems to be the theme of the day for the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) who have introduced changes to facilitate easier protection of Trade Marks and Designs.
International Trade Marks…by email?
As the business world becomes increasingly more adept at using technology, filing for an International Trade Mark Applications can now be done by email. Filling out the relevant UK IPO’s form, applicants can apply for International Trade Marks to countries governed by the Madrid System (a centralized system that manages the worldwide registration of trademarks). So with not much more than a few emails and an online form, you could get your Trade Mark protected in over 90 countries!
Registered Designs fee changes
The good news doesn’t stop there either as the Registered Design (Fees) Rules 2016 came into play on 1st October 2016, providing for significant savings when registering or renewing multiple designs. As part of the general push towards more efficiency, there is a reduction in registration cost when applications are made electronically as opposed to the traditional paper format. Applying electronically can therefore not just save you time but a significant amount of money and if you have more than one design to register, the new fees system means you can secure protection for multiple designs made under a single electronic application.
Patents: Notification of intention to grant
The IPO has also introduced various changes to The Patents Rules that, as of 1 October 2016, will make the management of patent applications a whole lot easier. Notably, the IPO are introducing a ‘notification of intention to grant’ which is, essentially, a letter to patent applicants informing them that their application meets all the requirements for a grant of patent and provides dates for when the application will be sent for grant. The introduction of this notification system will give patent applicants a much clearer idea of timescales involved and, consequently, will let them know how much time is left to take any other necessary actions.
Patents: Time limit extensions
To make the life of a patent applicant even easier, the IPO have extended the time limits for requesting reinstatement of an application to 12 months from termination when an applicant unintentionally misses a deadline. With timing often being of pivotal importance in patent applications, the IPO have also provided more time for applicants to provide an address for service in the European Economic Area or Channel Islands.
Patents: Technical drawings rules relaxed
The law governing the use of technical drawings in patent applications is also due to be relaxed. As of 1 October 2016, shading in drawings will be allowed as will black and white photographs (providing clarity is not compromised). It is hoped that the relaxation of formal requirements will create more legal certainty surrounding the patent application.
What we can do for you
Despite some changes helping to streamline costs and processes, protecting your intellectual property and helping your business stand out from the crowd can often be a difficult task. We can register your trademark in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. Unlike a traditional law firm, we don't charge by the hour and we won't charge for each phone call or email. Instead, all of our fees are fixed and agreed with you upfront. Why not contact us today to discuss your legal requirements in further detail, we’ll be delighted to talk to you!
By Louis Muncey
The contents of this article are intended solely for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or financial advice or opinion in any specific facts or circumstances.
© 2016 Hybrid Legal Limited.