The digital landscape of businesses nowadays makes the protection of intellectual property even more necessary. Intellectual property can be a valuable business asset for entrepreneurs and must be legally protected if the value of a business is to rise.
Intellectual property is the collection of ideas and creations of your mind or intellect such as trademarks, logos, concepts, designs, computer programs and so on. Most businesses will have some form of intellectual property that derives commercial value. Entrepreneurs should take the time to familiarise themselves with the forms of intellectual property so they can best protect their ideas.
A trademark is a right granted to a sign or device used by a business to
distinguish its goods and services from other businesses. Although it is not compulsory to register a trademark, registering provides exclusive rights to use the trademark across Australia for commercial purposes and assign, transfer or sell the rights to the trademark to another business. Trademarks can protect businesses against imitation since they can use the trademark to identify with a particular product or service.
A patent is a right granted for any device, substance, method or process which is new, innovative and useful. If you have developed a new product or process, you may consider applying for a patent. There are two types of patents in Australia;
- Standard patent: provides long term protection for 20 years or more.
- Innovation patent: lasts for up to eight years and applies to innovations that would not qualify for a standard patent.
Patents only provide protection within Australia. However, you can make a separate application in each country or file a single international application and select the countries in which you wish for protection.
Copyright is a free and automatic legal right applied to any original work such as art, literature, music, films and so forth. Copyrights do not have to be registered for ownership. You cannot copyright ideas, the works must be tangible.