This time of year we often have more time to indulge in those pastimes we enjoy.  It could be a leisurely round of golf or trying to catch a wave; watching a new film at the local cinema, playing a video game or reading the latest thriller; listening to hits, old and new; sitting down for a meal with friends; or simply taking a hike and capturing the sights of this beautiful island on which we live.

In the last century technological innovation has changed the way we spend our leisure time but also the way in which leisure activities happen.  Sports’ equipment has been constantly modified in order to assist players and improve their performance.  We have gone from watching movies on video tapes to on a dvd then on blu-ray disc and now to streaming the movies we wish to watch.  Instead of taking a stack of paperback books with us on holiday we now carry an e-reader containing a library. We can simply call out to Alexa to play a tune or find some information.  We can order food, and almost anything else, online to be delivered.  Then there are video games which has developed from simple games like ‘Spacewars’ to games played together with other players who might be all over the world.

Whether you are aware of it or not, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), have a part to play in it all.  “Intellectual Property” is a term which encompasses a number of individual rights all of which protect very different things.  They include: –

  • Patents which protect novel inventions or modification to an existing product. To obtain a patent the innovation must solve a technical problem and be new, inventive and industrially applicable;


  • Design rights which may protect the appearance of a product;


  • Trade mark registrations which protect those signs used to identify brands of different products and services, which can include names, logos and icons as well as colours and colour combinations, slogans, etc.;


  • Copyright which automatically comes into existence upon the creation of an artistic or literary works, e.g., novels, poems, music, films, holiday brochures, photographs and so on; and


  • Trade Secrets which might be used to protect commercially sensitive information, such as recipes, formulas, computer software.


While we may not realise how much Intellectual Property (IP) features in the activities in which we choose to partake, these intangible property rights permeate every sphere of life and protect the results of creativity and the embodiment of ideas.

Often even those companies who offer products and services may not be aware of their rights.  Yet, for companies which are constantly innovating and finding new and improved ways to achieve a goal or complete a task, protecting their IP is of paramount importance.  Without taking the steps to identify, protect and police your IP you may not be able to prevent those who wish to jump on the bandwagon and take advantage of your hard work and creativity.

Riccardo Zacconi, the founder of the software company behind games such as Candy CrushTM, understanding the importance of IP, wrote in an open letter:-

“Like any responsible company, we take appropriate steps to protect our IP….Our goals are simple: to ensure that our employees’ hard work is not simply copied elsewhere, that we avoid player confusion and that the integrity of our brands remains.”

What steps have you taken to identify, protect and police your IP?

If you would like to discuss the protection of your intellectual property requirements why not contact us here at Maclachlan and Donaldson (Dublin) at or Ansons (Belfast) at and have a talk with one of our Attorneys.