Idea expressed on a website - protected?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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AgnesObel
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Idea expressed on a website - protected?

Post by AgnesObel » Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:44 pm

Hello,

I had an idea about a design of a lamp, I'd like to write the idea on a website to have some reviews about it.
Yet, I'd like to know if my idea will be protected by copyright. (as it is my website)

Thanks,

Agnes.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:55 pm

Hi Agnes,
Copyright is mainly intended to protect artistic ideas, although there are are some examples of more practical things such as computer programs and architectural drawings which also qualify for copyright.
For more practical or utilitarian objects there is Design Right and Patents. Patents can only be taken out for an idea which shows a 'novel step' beyond what is currently known by others working in the same field, so unless your design is in this category, I suspect that Design Right will give you the best protection. However if you think that a patent might be the best way of protecting your idea, it is vital that you do not publish details of before applying for a patent.

Design Right comes in two forms. Unregistered design right (UDR), like copyright, exists from the moment your design is recorded in a design document or in a physical prototype. A design here is defined as "any aspect of the shape or configuration (whether internal or external) of the whole or part of an article". UDR cannot be applied just to two dimensional features such as colour or surface decoration (unless it has texture). As its name suggests you do not need to formally register your design with the UK Intellectual Property Office. But UDR is not a monopoly right. It only gives the owner the exclusive right to prevent commercial production of the design by someone else. The design must be original in the sense that it is not copied from an earlier design and must not be commonplace in the field in which the article exists. There are a number of other detailed qualification aspects which you can read up here: UDR lasts for the shorter period of either:
15 years from the end of the year the design was first recorded,
or
10 years from the end of the year in which an article made to the design was first made available commercially anywhere in the world.
There is also something known as Unregistered Community Design Right which then applies throughout the EU. You can find out more about UCDR and its big brother Registered Community Design (RCD) here.

For designs which are more likely to have significant commercial value there is the Registered Design Right (RDR). Eligibilty rules for RDR are slightly different and the protection afforded is somewhat stronger than for UDR. You can read all about the requirements and registration process for RDR here.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

AgnesObel
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Post by AgnesObel » Tue May 01, 2012 2:08 pm

Thank you for your answer :)

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