July 31, 2017


Written by Jonathan Kurtz-Shefford

Parents with young children (and even those without children) will have heard of ‘Fidget Spinners’.
The latest craze to take over the school yard was invented by Catherine Hettinger and most would assume she has become fantastically wealthy on the back of her invention however the reality is quite the opposite.
Catherine could not afford to renew the patent of the popular children’s craze she created and therefore makes no money from the global sales.
Her story is an excellent example of how important it is to protect your intellectual property. Continued protection of her Patent or even registering her trademark would have prevented her losing out on potentially millions of pounds in sales.
Trademarks play a major role in protecting your products and your brand, especially if they rise in value, and are often an appreciating asset.
Trademarks are the words, slogans, logos, colours, packaging, etc. that you wrap around your company and are placed on your products to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.  By having a trademark, it
allows you to take legal action against a person who uses your product or branding without your authorisation and can protect you against unwanted competition.
Intellectual Property, or IP, is another way in which you can protect your creation and anything that is unique and physically created can be protected under intellectual property (IP) rights.
An idea alone cannot be protected; however, there are several ways of protecting different types of IP:

  • Copyright – literary works (including writing), art, photography, films, TV, music, web content and sound recording
  • Trademark – brand/product names, logos and jingles
  • Patents – inventions and products
  • Design Right – shapes of objects
  • Registered Designs – appearance of a product including shape, packaging, patterns, colours or decoration.

Another means of protection is through a patent which is a deal between government and inventor. For publicly disclosing the nature and workings of an invention, the government grants a trade monopoly, a patent, to the inventor for typically 20 years.
To obtain a patent, an invention:

  • must be novel.
  • must be capable of industrial application.
  • must involve an inventive step that is not obvious.

For expert advice on these matters, contact Peter Lynn and Partners on 01792 450010 or email [email protected]