Documents to download

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) defines intellectual property as “creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce”. 

Intellectual property rights [IPRs] are protected by laws which prevent creations from being used by others, or set conditions on such use. Intellectual property protection is divided into two categories: industrial property and copyright. Industrial property includes patents for inventions, trademarks, geographical indications and industrial designs, and copyright covers a broad range of other work, including literature, films, music, artistic works and architectural design.

WIPO argues that intellectual property rights are important because the guarantee of exclusive future benefit encourages investment and innovation. However, others have argued that this is not supported by evidence; for example, the Economist has emphasised that many great inventions occurred before the advent of intellectual property rights, and contends that strengthening IPR regimes in various countries has not led to more innovation.

This Briefing provides an overview of the historical development of two strands of intellectual property law in the UK, that of copyright law and of patent law. It then provides a brief overview of statistical information regarding women and the filing of patents, and suggests further reading on the theme of women and intellectual property.


Documents to download

Related posts

  • Medicinal and agrochemical products can be granted a Supplementary Protection Certificate, an intellectual property right associated with patents, to provide up to five years of additional rights and protections once their patents have expired. In order to apply for an SPC, a product must receive approval to be sold on the UK market. Under the Northern Ireland/Ireland Protocol, products to be sold in Northern Ireland must obtain approval under EU law, whilst products to be sold in the rest of the UK will obtain approval under UK law. Currently, this marketing authorisation is only given on a UK-wide basis. This regulation amends the market authorisation process to enable authorisations to be granted for the Northern Ireland market only and for the Great Britain market only.

  • The UK’s arts and entertainment sector has been one of the areas worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The decline in revenues and the number of workers furloughed over the past few months is second only to the accommodation and food sector. This article examines the impact of the pandemic on the UK’s cultural industry and the Government’s recently announced support package worth £1.57 billion aimed at helping the sector recover.