Do you know how to protect your startup ideas from copycats with intellectual property (IP)? We will share with you information on IP and trademark in this article, and more on registered designs, patents, copyright and trade secrets in the next article. Q: What is IP and how do I protect it? A: 'IP' or 'intellectual property' is (a term that describes) a range of rights in different aspects of your business and your products. The most common IP rights are trade secrets (undisclosed commercial information), copyright, registered designs, patents and trademarks. Q: What is a trademark? A: A trademark is a sign that distinguishes the goods and services of one trader from those of others. Typically a trademark can be words (including personal names), indications, designs, letters, characters, numerals, figurative elements, colours, sounds, smells, the shape of the goods or their packaging or any combination of these. A sign must be capable of being represented graphically in order for it to be registered as a trademark. Q: Do you Know the Differences among Company Registration, Business Registration and Trademark Registration? A: A company name registration at the Companies Registry or a business name registered with the Business Registration Office is not the same as a trademark registration at the Trade Marks Registry. A business or company name registration is not an indication of trademark rights. Having registered a company name with the Companies Registry or a business name with the Business Registration Office, you are still required to apply for registration of your trademarks with the Trade Marks Registry. Only the registered trademark owner has an exclusive right to use the trademark in relation to the goods and services in the Hong Kong SAR for which the mark is registered. Watch the video below to learn more about the effective use of registered trademarks in maximising brand values. (Available in Chinese only) Source: Intellectual Property Department “Startup How-tos” is an introductory guidebook written for entrepreneurship newbies, providing startup tips and related public services information.