For Students

What is IP?

Intellectual property is about the creations of the mind, and it comes in many forms. So, whether you have just discovered something new through your research, you’ve come up with a great new idea or process, you’ve written a book, music or software, or you have actually created a time machine, you will have created some intellectual property. You can read more about intellectual property and how it can be protected on our information page.


Why is IP important?

IP is important for all kinds of reasons:


IP forms the foundation of many hi-tech companies

Patented IP rights protect the core technology which underlies many high technology companies. A modern smartphone may rely on thousands of different IP rights. Engineering giants like Airbus, pharmaceutical companies such as GSK, and tech companies like Google all rely on IP.  Their IP rights allow them to prevent other companies from easily copying their technology, giving them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.


IP rights underly major brands

Trademarks (TM) protect key logos for many leading companies. For example, the Coca-Cola™ brand is reputed to be worth $79 billion! You can tell if something is trademarked because it will display a TM or ® sign.


IP rights protect many literary and artistic works

Copyright (©) protects the rights of the author in written works, for example of book authors, software writers and musicians, preventing other people from financially exploiting their work without their permission.


IP rights can be essential for hi-tech start-ups and spinouts

IP rights are often the essential basis behind the formation of new start-ups or spinout companies by entrepreneurs. They help the company to attract investment by offering confidence to investors that the key technology underlying the company is protected in a way that may give the company competitive advantage.


Knowledge of IP rights is a useful career skill

There are many interesting and varied careers which depend on a knowledge of IP. IP Professionals include patent attorneys who draft and manage patent applications, IP lawyers who prepare and litigate contracts involving IP rights, and technology transfer and licensing professionals in University and industry who manage IP rights and conduct negotiations to buy and sell IP rights.

Knowledge of IP rights is also valuable in a range of other careers where IP is not the main focus – such as scientific research and various business roles. Knowing about IP even at a basic level is considered a valuable skill by many employers. If you want to be an entrepreneur and start-up your own company one day, knowledge of IP rights is a must for many business sectors.


How can I learn more about IP?

You can find out more from our IP, patents and licences page.

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