As with unregistered design right, copyright protection arises automatically upon creation of an appropriate work, e.g. artistic work, literary work, musical or dramatic work.
Also, in order to succeed with an action for infringement, it is again necessary to establish that the alleged infringing party actually copied the work protected rather than arrived at their work by means of independent creative activity. Within the field of industrial designs, copyright protection has tended to take on a decreasing importance since the enactment of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 in that it is no longer considered an infringement of the copyright in a design document to copy an article made to the design as recorded in that design document. However, copyright protection still remains available to prevent the copying of design drawings themselves - which can qualify for protection as artistic works; and written descriptions, instructions and the text for brochures - which can qualify for copyright protection as literary works. Other "works", for example photographs and computer programs, can have particular relevance to industrial design creativity and can also be protected by copyright.
The full range of copyright works that are protectable in the United Kingdom is extensive and the term of copyright protection available differs in accordance with the nature of the work concerned. While, as with design protection, there is no need to file a formal application to achieve copyright protection - and protection comes into being automatically as mentioned before - various steps can be taken in order to enhance one's position should a copyright conflict arise.
We at WP Thompson have established a strong reputation in advising on matters relating to the existence, ownership and term of protection for copyright and design right protection. Should you have any queries on these topics please do not hesitate to contact us as appropriate.