What IP myths have you heard?

Intellectual Property Myths

Think you know about intellectual property (IP) rights? Here’s the top 5 myths I regularly hear from managers and their teams, writes Jo Strain, CMI Southern Board member.

Myth 1

“If I pay for something to be created, I own the intellectual property and can use it however I wish.”

You don’t and you can’t – unless you negotiated this upfront. This is a very common misunderstanding I hear from companies who have commissioned all manner of items from the design of a new widget or a painting to marketing materials and software.

Myth 2

“If it’s on the internet then it’s in the public domain and anyone can use it.”

Not unless it explicitly says so and you follow the terms of use stated.

Myth 3

“If I copy something and change it, I own the IP.”

No. Technology enables individuals and organisations to spot and prove bootlegging / imitation easily. Comparison tools in Microsoft Office make it child’s play to see the commonality and differences in written items. I have worked for organisations who have specialised technology to reverse engineer software and hardware products to establish the degree of commonality in the design and construction of the company and others products. Exam boards have highly effective software that spots plagiarism. Ditto organisations who own music rights etc.

If the intellectual property is an individual or organisations livelihood or part of their reputation they are likely to fight to protect it.

Myth 4

“Why bother protecting Intellectual Property?”

To stop other organisations copying your idea and doing it better, and potentially to create a new income stream from licensing your intellectual property. This can be seriously lucrative – IBM made $682m revenue from IP in 2015. *

* IBM Annual Report 2015

Myth 5

“Does it matter?”

Infringement of IP may be a criminal as well as civil law offence. Fines can be up to £50,000 and custodial sentences upto 10 years. The associated reputational damage can be devastating for an organisation.

What IP myths have you heard? Webinar 9 Oct 2017

Join our discussion on CMI Southern LinkedIn or email us.

Want to know more about IP?  Book for the CMI Southern and CIPR webinar on Intellectual Property on 9 October 2017. The webinar will cover why IP is important to you and your organisation. Speakers will be from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Send us your questions for the webinar

These are some of the questions we have received. Send us your questions for our webinar speakers.

  • What kind of intellectual property can be protected?
  • What’s the difference between a copyright, trademark and patent?
  • What sort of protection do they provide?
  • How long does it take to protect a piece of intellectual property?
  • How much do they cost?
  • Do I automatically own the copyright or patent associated with something I commission e.g. if I pay an organisation to write a piece of software, do I automatically own the copyright of the software because I paid for it to be created?
  • What are the key benefits of protecting IP?
  • Is IP ownership enforceable at a reasonable cost?
  • What does the UK IPO office do?
  • Where can I get help?