10 things you didn’t know about Intellectual Property


Written by the Publishers Association.

Today, we are celebrating World Intellectual Property Day and the role that intellectual property (IP) rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity. Here are ten things you might not know about intellectual property:

  1. World IP Day is a celebration coordinated by the World Intellectual Property Office. WIPO is the global body committed to developing and maintaining effective intellectual property systems around the world.
  2. IP is made up of lots of different rights, including copyright, trademarks, design rights and patents. IP is something unique that you physically create: so an idea for a book doesn’t necessarily have IP protections, but any writing you do, will.
  3. Copyright law in the UK began with “An Act for the Encouragement of Learning” under the Statute of Anne in 1710.
  4. The first trademark in the UK was registered in 1875, and it was the Bass & Co’s Pale Ale red triangle.
  5. The UK’s existing Copyright Framework – the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1998 – is now over 30 years old!
  6. Copyright remains at the heart of the digital economy, as evidenced by the recent debates in the European Parliament. A new Copyright Directive, making provisions from IP in the digital single market, will be entering into force in May.
  7. The global IP framework is underpinned by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, an international agreement governing copyright first accepted in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886.
  8. This year, World IP Day is celebrating IP and Sport – publishers are proud to support a myriad of sports publications in every sporting field, and we’re looking forward to the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2019 Awards Ceremony in December. The deadline for entry is 30th August.
  9. The UK recently ratified the Marrakesh Treaty; just one of the ways in which copyright works to support accessibility for those who read best in different formats.
  10. In 2017, the UK publishing industry generated £3.4 billion by exporting IP around the world. Copyright is hugely valuable to the UK economy, as the world IP’s framework allows us to transfer knowledge to international markets.

You can find out more about intellectual property and how it relates to publishing on our Understanding IP page.