About this section
Intellectual property is a term used to describe valuable ideas. Intellectual property can take many forms, including new inventions, product designs, trade secrets or artistic creations such as music or graphic designs. Intellectual property law seeks to protect the ownership of these ideas. Intellectual property can be a very important asset; almost every business has some form of intellectual property that needs to be protected. Protecting ownership of an idea will result in the protection of profit that might be made from it, or ensuring that competitors cannot use your ideas. Intellectual Property laws allow for protection in different ways depending on the type of intellectual property. Some of these protections include patents, trade marks and copyright.
In many cases, businesses may not realise they have intellectual property which needs to be protected. Intellectual property which may need protection includes:
- newly invented or improved/modified products and services;
- trademarks, logos or brand names;
- specific product designs of an already existing property, such as a new shape or appearance;
- a new plant variety;
- new software, databases or computer circuit layout designs;
- confidential information such as trade secrets or know how, manufacturing specifications, client lists, business and marketing plans.
If you are seeking to protect an idea or design, in most cases you will need to register it with IP Australia. IP Australia is a Federal Government body responsible for granting and administering intellectual property rights in Australia. Sometimes, registration is not necessary because the law allows for automatic protection when an idea is created. Ideas that are automatically protected to include confidential information and trade secrets. Because of this, it is important to know what type of intellectual property your idea or design may be in order that you can properly protect it.