The IDEA Centre at South West College in Omagh recently hosted an introduction to IP seminar – ‘Intellectual Property: What’s it all about?’ which offered attendees the chance to hear from industry experts and local entrepreneurs navigating the Intellectual Property (IP) process.
Intellectual Property is one of those things that we might not think about too often, but which effects what we do in our everyday lives. Intellectual property is ideas, information and knowledge, and businesses can have the same ownership of these ideas as they would have ownership of buildings or land. This ownership is achieved, in part, through patents, copyright, registered designs and trademarks, and is an important part of any enterprise. Ultimately, successfully protecting your intellectual property is the only way to ensure that your creative output is not imitated by competitors.
Alan Wallace from FRKelly, a leading specialist in intellectual property law said:
“Intellectual property is a type of virtual property owned by an individual or company. It is a virtual property because it refers to creation of the mind as opposed to physical property. However, like physical property, IP can be sold, mortgaged, transferred or exchanged. IP falls under the broad headings of: Patents, Trade Marks, Designs, Copyright.”
The main purpose of intellectual property law is to encourage the creation of a wide variety of intellectual goods for customers, but the application of it can become complicated when issues such as finance, economic growth and even morality become part of it. Regardless of size, all companies, large and small, often become entangled in tricky situations with it, and even small businesses have to be very aware of it in order to safely protect their ideas and their business opportunities.
Damian McAleese from the Technical Advisory Unit at Invest NI, was also on hand to speak about support available to local businesses through Invest NI. Julie Gray from Gray’s Clip, a relatively new start-up company and winner at ‘Invent 2018’ shared the company’s experience of navigating the IP process and the support received from South West College throughout the development of their product. Julie said:
“We have developed the world’s only fully insulated cable stapling solution. It’s the only cable staple in the world which is suitable for use on a 240v cable and it’s designed to make the job of an electrician faster, easier and safer.”
Diarmuid Kelly, IDEA Product Design Centre Co-Ordinator, SWC said:
“Many of the products and gadgets we use every day depend on intellectual property rules to remain unique. The computers and phones we use every day are all full of software and features which belong to the designer; the TV we watch and the music we listen to is based on ideas which belong to their creator; and the cars we drive have designs which the manufacturer can prevent their competitors from imitating. We really don’t need to look very far for examples of the significance of protecting intellectual property.”
For more information or advice on Intellectual Property and the impact on your business or idea, please get in touch with Diarmuid Kelly Diarmuid.Kelly@swc.ac.uk or call 028 8225 0109.