Protecting Your Intellectual Property (IP)

Protecting Your Intellectual Property (IP)

Intellectual property (IP) is fast becoming extremely valuable, even for small business.

Intellectual Property is one of the most talked about topics in business today, yet one of the least understood.

 

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual Property consists of products of the human mind and creativity that are protected by law. IP is often the single most important asset of an enterprise. This is why you need to know about it. Like tangible property, IP can be bought, sold, rented. It does have economic value, often great economic value.

 

Intellectual property rights allow creators to benefit from their work

Intellectual property rights are like any other property right. They allow creators, or owners, of patents, trademarks or copyrighted works to benefit from their own work or investment in a creation.

The intellectual property system helps strike a balance between the interests of innovators and the public interest, providing an environment in which creativity and invention can flourish, for the benefit of all.

In Australia, Intellectual Property is divided into 5 categories:

  1. Patents
  2. Trademarks
  3. Copyright
  4. Plantbreeders Rights
  5. Registered Designs

 

Intellectual property rights reward creativity and human endeavor, which fuel the progress of humankind.

Some examples:

  • The multibillion dollar film industry – which bring pleasure to millions of people worldwide
  • Software development – which makes our lives easier every day

 

None of this would not exist without copyright protection. Without the rewards provided by the patent system, researchers and inventors would have little incentive to continue producing better and more efficient products for consumers.

Consumers would have no means to confidently buy products or services without reliable, international trademark protection and enforcement mechanisms to discourage counterfeiting and piracy.

Whether it be securing trade marks for the business name, logo, tag-line, slap-line, derivative products, composite trade marks, or making sure that workplace agreements have the adequate protections in place to ensure there are ramifications if they pinch the business’ valuable IP.

Non-disclosure agreements or confidentiality agreements can be extremely useful tools to ensure that the information and ideas are protected when speaking with prospective individuals or companies about them.

Copyright infringement, trade mark infringement, breach of Australian Consumer Laws (ACL), passing off, misleading and deceptive conduct, all appear to be on the rise and small businesses need to be careful to take adequate and timely steps to enforcement.

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