Melania Trump found herself at the centre of a plagiarism row in July 2016 after it was suggested that a section of her speech at the Republican Convention had been lifted verbatim from a speech delivered by Michelle Obama at the Democratic Convention in 2008.

Many Democrats were quick to point out the similarities between the two speeches, with some accusing Melania of ‘stealing’ and ‘lacking integrity’.

Trump supporters refuted these accusations with fresh reminders that this was not the first time that team Obama had been involved in a plagiarism scandal.

Accusations of intellectual property infringement have continued to mount against the Trump family with Ivanka Trump recently accused of ‘copying’ and ‘stealing’ several shoe designs owned by the Italian company, Aquazzura.

Ivanka Trump strongly denies the allegations and has issued court proceedings to rebut such claims.

The similarities between Ivanka Trump’s shoe designs and Aquazzura’s may simply be fortuitous, but in any event, it acts as a reminder that your intellectual property should always be protected.

Why should you protect your IP?

Intellectual property (“IP”) is a term that refers to creative work that can be treated as an asset, such as designs and inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names and images. IP rights generally fall into four main areas: copyright, trademarks, design rights and patents.

Approximately £126 billion is invested in ideas and knowledge in the UK each year, with around half of this investment allocated to protected IP rights.

The purpose of IP protection is to enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.

For many companies, IP law protects more than just an idea or a concept – it can protect a valuable commercial asset that may be integral to the core services of the business and fundamental to its overall long-term financial viability.

Many companies will make their IP available through the internet which will allow their products, services and marketing communications to reach global audiences at a relatively low cost.

Making your IP available on the internet may be commercially astute, but by subjecting it to a larger audience, you may inadvertently be increasing the risk of it being infringed upon.

It is often crucial to protect any products or services to which you own the IP rights to as competitors can use your success to reduce your market share, resulting in slow growth or loss of revenue.

By protecting your IP, you make it easier to take legal action against those who may try to infringe upon it.