How to Protect Your Intellectual Property Assets

Australians are an inventive and creative people.

Whether it is coming up with inventions that are patentable; designs that are registrable; or trademarks that are, likewise, registerable, Australians are at the top of the list worldwide.

These new inventions, designs, and trademarks, along with copyright (publications and music recordings) are known as Intellectual Property (IP).

In the rush to develop IP, the owners of it often expose it too early and without adequate legal protection. This can mean the “secrecy” of your IP is lost to the “public domain” and, after that, it is a lot harder to enforce any protective measures against infringers or copiers of your IP.

The best approach is to seek legal advice about protecting your IP before exposing, launching, or taking your business or product to market. Proper registration and protection of IP makes it easier to deter competitors from copying your IP; gives you and established competitive advantage; and better enables you to attract investment for your business.

Of course, there are costs of doing all this, so it is best to do some “test checks” or “test runs” of your IP to see that it is really worth spending money on, in light of the potential for market demand for it. There are many specialist organisations that an IP holder can pay to give an opinion on whether or not their IP will generate any real potential wealth.

If you need to discuss your IP with others at any time, it is best to have the receiver of your information sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement in advance. This binds the receiver to secrecy and non-use of your IP at any future time, under the threat of being sued by you, the IP holder.

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