Intellectual property rights, also known as IP rights, provide owners with the time and opportunity to commercialise their creations. Your business name, logo, trade secrets, and any creative processes and inventions all fall within the gamut of IP. Your IP is what will differentiate your business from another. So, is it adequately protected from copycats and infringers?
IP rights exist in many forms. These include:
- registered designs
- plant breeder’s rights
- geographical indications
- trade secrets and confidential information.
Some IP rights have automatic protection (e.g. copyright, trade secrets and circuit layouts used in computer-generated designs), others require registration (e.g. trademark). Each type of IP provides different competitive advantages and values.
This blog provides a quick overview of the common IP rights of businesses.
Trademarks protect the identities of a business, product or service. Business or product names, logos, packaging and some other important things which identify and distinguish a product/service may be registered and protected against copy by other people through IP Australia.
Trade secrets and confidential information
Confidential information is information that is not generally known to the public. A trade secret is information that is not generally known within the industry and has commercial value to a business and an advantage over competitors. Your business’ confidential information and trade secrets can be protected through employment agreements and other contracts, as well as policies and procedures.
Lessons for IP
Know what IP you own: IP comes in various forms. You should ensure that adequate protection is in place for your business’ branding, designs, processes, trade secrets and confidential information.
Know if you are using anyone else’s IP: Using other people’s IP comes with a great deal of risk and you could be pursued for IP theft. You should identify any potential exposure you have and develop compliant alternatives.
Develop an IP policy: Your business should have robust agreements and policies in place to protect your business’ IP. It might be worthwhile having your existing agreements and policies reviewed to ensure that your intellectual assets are fully protected.
What would good legal advice do?
At Cohen Legal we can help you understand the different types of intellectual property that exist within your business and guide you through the steps to protect what is yours. Our business is protecting yours. Let’s talk.