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Solicitors' practice areas

Intellectual property

IP work can be divided into two main areas: so-called ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ intellectual property. ‘Hard’ intellectual property generally relates to registered IP rights such as patents, while ‘soft’ intellectual property includes registered trademarks and registered designs, copyright, unregistered design rights, database rights, trade secrets, confidential information and passing off. IP lawyers advise on issues ranging from commercial exploitation to infringement disputes, and agreements that deal either exclusively with IP or with IP rights in the wider context of larger commercial transactions. Many lawyers specialise in either contentious or non-contentious IP work.