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Intellectual property: a guide through the maze

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Dr Sam Dewhurst, of Venturefest North West sponsors Dehns, talks you through the key considerations for protecting your intellectual property (IP).

So you’ve developed a brand-new invention or product. How are you going to keep control of it?

First things first

The most important first rule of thumb is not to tell anyone about your idea, until you have investigated how best to protect it. If your idea is shared too early, it might become impossible to prove any ownership of it.

Ask yourself - are you willing to invest the necessary time and money to exploit the idea commercially; either by putting the idea into practice yourself, or by selling or licensing it for someone else to use? Your local business accelerator should be able to advise you at this stage.

Dehns can also advise you on the most appropriate protection for your idea, within budgets and timescales that chime with your individual business plan.


A patent protects new and non-obvious technical inventions; including products and processes. A patent gives the owner the right to stop others from making, selling or using the invention in a particular country (or group of countries) where the patent has been granted.

Patents aren’t just limited to ground-breaking inventions; lots of everyday items like stationary or kitchen utensils are patent-protected.

A patent attorney can help you prepare your patent application(s) and manage the complex process of seeing an application through to its conclusion.

Trade marks

A trade mark is a mark that distinguishes your goods or services from other traders. It’s an essential step in creating and developing your brand. Usually trade marks are words, numerals, graphic designs, or a combination of these.

You can file a trade mark application at the national or regional registration office in the territory where your product needs protection.

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)

An NDA is a confidentiality agreement between two people or organisations, which stops information being shared with any third parties. We always recommend that you apply for IP protection before disclosing your invention or idea to anyone.

Sometimes, discussions about an invention may need to take place before moving on to apply for protection. These discussions should always be made with an NDA in place.

By following these logical steps, you stand the best chance of keeping control of your innovation.

Dehns is a leading European firm of specialist patent and trade mark attorneys, with more than 200 people across seven offices, in addition to a strong, well established network of global partnerships.

The firm’s practical and commercial approach to intellectual property helps turn inspired thinking into patents, trade marks and registered designs - which become valuable commercial assets for clients.


For more information on how Dehns can support you and your business, visit


Register to attend Venturefest NW here