Intellectual Property Law Basics in Australia

Intellectual Property Law Basics in Australia

If you run a business, or intend to start a business, one of the most valuable assets you have is your intellectual property (IP). You should take advantage of intellectual property law to protect it.

Your IP includes your copyright, trademarks, designs, domain names, patents and trade secrets. If this IP was to be stolen, your company may suffer significant losses – both financially and to its reputation. This is why it’s important to ensure your IP is protected, so you can maintain your competitive edge and keep business growing.

We’ve provided some basic information on the IP laws you can use to help register your IP and keep it protected.

Patents

By registering a patent with IP Australia, you will be able to stop other companies from copying your inventions and profiting from your patented ideas for a period of time.

Patent applications and patent examination, is a complex process and you should liaise with a patent attorney to get professional advice before submitting your patent application.

Trademarks

Your trademark is your business’s unique symbol/mark so it needs to be protected. The last thing you want is for another company to infringe on your trademark and damage your reputation.

Registration of your trademark will give it legal protection and stop others from infringing on your trademark. You can protect it Australia wide by processing your registration through IP Australia.

Domain names

A domain name is your internet website’s address that is unique to your business. When founding your business, register a domain name that ends in ‘.au’ so that it is administered and regulated by the .au Domain Administration (auDA).

In order to have an ‘.au’ domain, your company needs to meet the eligibility and allocation requirements set by the auDA, which you can find on their website.

Designs

If your company produces a unique design for a product, you may wish to file a design application with IP Australia so you can protect your work.

Copyright

The good news is you don’t need to specifically register your products for copyright as what you produce should automatically be protected as copyrighted material. That said, your business should maintain clear, written agreements with all employees, contractors and third-parties/partners in relation to the ownership and permitted uses of copyrighted works that your business creates or commissions.

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