Have you considered protecting you IP?
Malcolm Brown a lawyer from the local firm Hutchinson Legal dropped into BizHub to discuss Intellectual Property (IP) and why you should be thinking about protecting it.
Intellectual Property is about the ownership of ideas and works of the mind – it could be a new invention, a design, brand or even creation.
Why is it important?
It is important to protect your IP because it is your business’s future! You need to establish ownership and also ensure that you are not infringing on other businesses. Think about protecting against employees taking IP and not just from competitors from copying.
There are laws that can assist with protecting IP such as the Copyright Act, Trade Marks Act, as well as Unregistered Trade Marks and business names.
Trade marks are signs used to distinguish goods or services from another trader’s goods or services - they can be words, logos, shapes, sounds, scent and colour.
They can be registered.
Business and company names need to be registered if it is a name other than your own.
Registration of the business or company name does not provide any protection under the IP law.
Copyright law covers the expression of an idea – for example films, books and artwork - and as such it doesn’t need to be registered. The author is protected during their lifetime and for 70 years after their death.
Remedies against infringement
When copyright and trademarks are infringed upon, the matter can be taken to the Federal Court, injunctions can be sought and businesses can sue for damages and profits. If the infringement was deliberate, then penalties can also be enforced. Customs can seize and destroy counterfeit imports.
Employees and contractors
When employees develop something during their employment period, the employer owns the IP.
When a contractor does a job for a business then the contractor still owns the IP, unless it clearly states in the contract that the business takes assignment of the IP when the contract is performed.
Businesses would be wise to protect their IP physically rather than rely on the legal system – for example restrict access to information, copying and email.
Suggestions for businesses
Make sure you are aware of you IP rights.
Identify your valuable IP and protect it.
Meet the business
Hutchinson Legal is a law firm that provides legal solutions for all aspects of your personal life as well as your business’s.
Visit Hutchinson Legal to see what services they offer and how they could help you.