9 October 2015 13:00
Do I own my website?
That may seem like an easy question to answer. You’ve paid for your domain name, designed the content and make regular updates about your business - of course you own it…don’t you?
Now, take a
closer look at the intellectual property (IP) your business uses in running and
maintaining your site. Are you still sure it all belongs to you?
Websites are just
one business asset protected by copyright. Copyright is an automatic right
owned by the creator of any original creative work. This includes text,
photographs, sound recordings and film material.
All the content
used on your website will be owned by somebody – if this is not you or your
business then you need to find out who it is and if you have the right to use it.
ownership can be a tricky issue. If someone in your employment creates content
for your business as part of their job, then the business owns the copyright.
For example, if someone in IT builds your website. However, if you hire a
subcontractor to carry out this work on your behalf then they will have
ownership of it.
commissioning work with a third party, you should put a contract in place to
transfer the copyright ownership to your business on completion. Did you know
that 74% of businesses can't correctly identify the owner of copyright when
using a subcontractor? Don’t get caught out by this!
On your marks
copyright, there are other aspects of your website which could be protected by
other IP rights. Did you know you could register your company name, logo and
domain name as trade marks?
A trade mark is a
sign that distinguishes your goods and services from those of your competitors.
As long as your mark is distinctive and doesn’t describe your goods and
services, then you may be able to register it as a trade mark.
A registered trade
mark can help your business grow. You can promote your business, establish a
loyal customer base and good reputation, safe in the knowledge that nobody else
can trade in on your good name. It’s your property, which means you can sell,
franchise or let other people have a licence to use it. It also makes it easier
to take action against those who use your trade mark without permission and
IP for Business
Property Office's ‘IP for Business’
toolkit is a
range of online resources to help you make the most of your IP. It includes IP Equip, a free
e-learning course to help you understand IP rights and the IP Health
Check, which can help you identify the IP you own and how to protect it.
Why not use
these tools to find out if your business owns all the IP you believe it does?
Blog supplied by the Intellectual Property Office the official government body responsible for intellectual property (IP) rights including patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.