Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property Rights are generally defined as legal rights granted to creators and owners of works resulting from human intellectual creativity, In effect, allowing them to own the creativity and innovation in their works in a similar way to owning physical property.

These Rights allow owners or creators to control the use of their work and to reap any profit generated from others using or copying the work; therefore encouraging further innovation and creativity from individuals.

Intellectual Property Rights may cover all types of works including: ideas and concepts, designs, creative processes and innovations.

Intellectual Property Rights is a very complicated area and some rules which apply in one area, may not apply in others. IP Rights need to be registered before any protection arises. The only exception is Copyright where protection arises automatically, once the work has been created. It must also be pointed out that more than one Property Right may apply to a particular creation.

The main types of Intellectual Property Rights


Copyright may subsist in various types of works and gives Copyright owners the authority to control the way in which their work is used and to prevent others from performing any copying. Please see our Copyright pages for more information.


Patents may be granted to individuals for inventions, or new and improved products and processes and provides the patent holder the exclusive right to commercially benefit from the invention for a certain period of time.


Trademarks cover the area of brand identity and protect the distinctive signs and logos which are used to distinguish the products or services of different businesses.

Design rights

Design rights cover all aspects of the visual appearance of a product.

Other areas in which Intellectual Property Rights cover include: trade secrets, plant varieties, geographical indication of origin in particular goods, performers' rights, etc.

For more information, please see the Government's Intellectual Property web pages: and