les Nouvelles - December 2008

Keeping The Lid On Pandora’s Box: A Practical Guide To Licensing Copyright For R&D Purposes In The UK

Helen V. Waugh

ITI Energy, IP Analyst, Aberdeen, Scotland

1. Introduction

In the age of the knowledge economy, copyright licensing remains at the heart of any intellectual asset management strategy—whether in a corporate or research environment. However, very few practical guides to copyright licensing are available. The aim of this paper is, therefore, to assist those working in a research and development environment needing guidance with the practical aspects of copyright licensing.

2. Copyright Law in the UK

Copyright in the UK is currently governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and updates the law brought into force by the Copyright Act of 1911 and the Copyright Act of 1956. One fundamental and common misunderstanding about copyright is that it can be used to protect a concept or an idea. It is the original expression of the concept or idea through ‘literary, artistic, dramatic or musical works’ that copyright protects.

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