Own-it | Intellectual Property Know-How for Creative Businesses


How can I make sure I am credited as the originator of my own work?

Published 18.11.09 at 15:34

First, you should consider the full range of possible protection of your work under intellectual property (IP) law. Logos, designs, packaging (and so on) are all covered by IP rights, as well as inventions and literary and artistic works. See: What is intellectual property?

You should then take the necessary steps to protect the right in question, for example:

Remember to renew the registration of registered IP rights to ensure continued protection.

Ensuring you are credited
There is no 100% effective method to ensure that you are always credited as the originator, but there are some steps that you can take to strengthen your position. For example:

  • Copyright: Mark your work with the international copyright symbol ©, the name of the copyright owner and the year of publication. See: How do I copyright my work?
  • Design rights: Registered designs should include the design number on the product or literature. See our Registered Design Factsheet.
  • Patents: If your product is in the process of being registered as a patent, you could mark it with the phrases 'patent pending' or 'patent applied for' in jurisdictions where it is possible to do this. See our Patent Factsheet.
  • Trade marks: If not registered, trade marks can be followed by the letters 'TM', while if registered they can be followed by ® to show that the mark has been registered. See: What kind of sign can be a trade mark?

It is advisable to agree terms in writing with third parties such as manufacturers and investors at the start, specifying your rights such as to be accredited as originator. For further help constructing contracts, contact Own-it.

Going further back in the process, it is also important that you retain contemporary evidence of your authorship of the work in question in case this is ever called into question and you have to provide evidence. This may include records of sketches, notes, drafts, diagrams, contracts, letters and emails, wherever possible with real-time evidence of their date of creation.

Content supplied by College of Law students at the Moorgate Centre supervised by Tim Harris of Bird & Bird LLP. Photo credit: Guano


Please note that this article discusses the legal position in the UK at the time of publication. It provides general information only but is not to be regarded as legal advice. You must take advice from a specialist lawyer in relation to your specific circumstances. Further, you should seek additional legal advice when dealing with parties based in other parts of the world or works originating from other parts of the world as the legal position may vary.


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