As a business owner, it’s imperative to protect your Intellectual Property, otherwise known as IP. Why? Because not having protection in place can have devastating consequences on your business leading to potential loss of earnings, or worse, being forced to close the door on your business.
We recently met a business owner who had created a brilliant invention, had put their product to market and within a matter of months had several people copying her idea. As a consequence, she actually had to close her business. One of the biggest mistakes she made was not taking the proper steps to protect her intellectual property.
Intellectual property is protected in law by copyright, patents and trademarks. These areas of legal protection enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. Let’s take a closer look at these definitions:
Copyright is a term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Work covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps and technical drawings.
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention. A patent provides the patent owner with the exclusive rights to decide whether the invention can be used by others and if so how it can be used by others. In exchange for this right, the patent owner makes technical information about the invention publicly available in the published patent document.
A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one business from those of other businesses. Trademarks date back to ancient times when craftsmen used to put their signature or “mark” on their products. Often business owners get confused and think that registering an IP address or a business name protects them, but actually registering a trademark is what protects the brand itself.
So in order to best protect your business’ IP and ensure complete IP protection, we would suggest contacting a lawyer to discuss which option is best for you. If you are an established business, then ask the lawyer for a complimentary review of the IP protection you currently have in place, and then a fixed-fee quote for any update/added protection you may require. If you are a new startup, then speak to a lawyer about the right IP protection for your business and ensure your business is protected right from the start.
Just one more tip… if you want to register a patent be mindful that this can be a lengthy process, so the sooner you get started, the better it will be for your business.
Connect with a patent attorney or intellectual property lawyer today to protect your business’ IP.
This article is written by Karen Finch and was first published on the Legally Yours website.
This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to practising lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Legally Yours Pty Ltd accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.