Professional Practise -An Introduction to Intellectual Property

Todays professional practise lecture was with Mayo Wim-Pe introducing intellectual property rights, what they are and how they will affect us. He began by showing us a few examples of products and asked for our thoughts on them, before telling us as intellectual properly rights are on everything you see, it’s attached to something. From the fruit and veg seeds used to grow produce to the paper in a school book, the rights and licenses are owned by somebody. I’ve never really thought much into IP before now and this lecture has really got my thinking about it in regards to my work. The lecture was mainly filled with advice for us to follow and things to be aware off. I will list a few of these below:

  • Be alert of what I’m making and don’t copy or re-produce other peoples work (You can’t just take a piece of work and then 5/6 alternations and claim it as your own)
  • When I am generating work, think of IP (e.g if on a work placement, who owns the rights to my work? Employer or myself?)

What is IP?

  • Product of my creativity
  • Intellectual property/capital
  • IP rights are ‘negative rights’ – to prevent copying


  • Least of my problems, don’t worry about using the ‘C’ logo (copyright protects the image and the image alone. It can still be re-produced)
  • Patents are what you should be thinking of – fabric sample (3 dimensional)
  • We think of the end product being copied – think of the process (what makes my design different to other people, don’t reveal too much – patent this part)
  • Constantly think: who owns my product throughout (processes / design style)

How to deal with Confidential Information:

  • Keep a record of processes, who’s involved throughout, make them sign an agreement and then discuss your work? Be cautious to just give out info.
  • Non- Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), also known as Confidentiality Agreements (CDAs)
  • Make sure to get documents from employers about the work you are doing – don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Understand what I will get, who and when (what to think of when signing a contract) – how can you get out of it?

Practical Considerations:

  • Avoid technical publications if patent application is not yet filled
  • ACID Magazine – worth looking at, protects designers.
  • If people try to assert rights they don’t have, remain impartial
  • People can use my work privately, just on commercially.
  • Need to be aware that people can just re-print my work, make it hard to do that – different technical processes.
  • GOV.UK – IP information online, can assist you.




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