IP Glossary: I

Revised 18 May 2024

Individual character

One of the conditions for the registration of a design under the Registered Designs Act 1949 or the subsistence of a supplementary unregistered design.S.1B (2) of the Registered Designs Act 1949 states that a design has individual character if the overall impression it produces on the informed user differs from the overall impression produced on such a user by any antecedent design which has been made available to the public. Art 6 (1) of the Community Design Regulation is to similar effect.


Violation of an intellectual property right.


Order of a court to do or refrain from doing something on pain of punishment for disobedience.


Failure to disclose in the specification of the patent for the invention clearly enough and completely enough for it to be performed by a person skilled in the art as required by s.14 (3) of the Patents Act 1977.   This is one of the grounds for revoking a patent (see s.72 (1) (c) ibid.

Intellectual Assets

Sometimes called “Intellectual Property Assets”. Creations of the mind that give one business a competitive advantage over all others such a new product or manufacturing process, a brand name or a blockbuster novel. Intellectual assets are grouped into four categories: brands, designs, technology or creativity.

Intellectual Property (“IP”)

The collective name for the bundle of laws that protect investment in an intellectual asset.   Examples include patents, copyrights, trade marks and registered and unregistered designs.

Intellectual property audit

A systematic review of the intellectual assets owned or used by a business, their legal protection, the title by which they are held or licensed and their value to the business.

Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (“IPEC”)

A specialist court within the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice which hears IP cases for damages or an account of profits under £500,000 which can be determined in one or at most 2 days. IPEC has a small claims track for claims for damages under £10,000.

intellectual property office (“IPO”)

A national or intergovernmental office for the registration of patents, registered designs, trade marks or other IPR.  The Intellectual Property Office is the intellectual property office for the UK. The EU IPO is the office that grants EU trade marks and registered Community designs for the European Union.

Intellectual Property Office (“The IPO”) 

The operating name of the Patent Office, an executive agency of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The IPO performs executive and quasi-judicial functions. Executive functions include the granting of patents and the registration of trade marks and registered designs.  Judicial functions include the adjudication of disputes between members of the public and those claiming IPR and the state.

Intellectual Property Right (“IPR”)

A right of action such as the right to stop copying in copyright or the right to prevent others from making, importing, disposing of or using anything that falls within any of the claims of a patent.

Intellectual property strategy

Using IP law as a tool to achieve a business objective


A new product or process.  


A person who made an invention

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