Innovation is the key to growing a successful business, as it enables companies to adapt and grow in an ever-changing marketplace. It is vital for today’s SMEs to innovate in order to stay relevant. It’s even more important that they do it safe in the knowledge that their idea is protected.
According to IP Australia figures, Australian SMEs are leading the way for innovation in the country, as they are submitting 70 per cent of intellectual property protecting filings each year.
What is IP?
Intellectual Property (IP) is the property of your mind, or proprietary knowledge. The IP Australia website (https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/) states that this can be an invention, trade mark, design, brand or even the way in which an idea is applied.
By registering your IP with IP Australia (and its overseas equivalents), it becomes easier to enforce your IP rights. Furthermore, IP is a form of property that can later be sold.
The Process Of Registering Your IP
Intellectual Property (IP) rights are designed to encourage small business owners and others to innovate. Applying for an IP right will not only protect your idea, but it will also help you build your business and establish a presence in your chosen market.
IP Australia suggests that the first step for SMEs that are considering applying for an intellectual property right, is to conduct a comprehensive search to make sure your idea hasn’t already been registered.
If you’re considering a patent or a design right, it’s important to keep the idea to yourself until you’ve got the paperwork ready to go. Otherwise, you could jeopardise your ability to claim a patent or design right before you even apply.
It’s also important to be aware that there are some rights that IP Australia doesn’t administer. Copyright and circuit layout rights are administered by the Department of Communications and the Arts, while business names, company names and domain names are not types of IP (ASIC looks after business and company names).
A lawyer who specialise in IP and trademark law could be of assistance throughout this process.
Be Prepared for an IP Infringement
While registering your IP with IP Australia is the best way to protect it, it’s important to be aware that enforcing your rights can be a costly process. As such, IP Australia advises taking out an IP insurance policy. This type of insurance policy can provide protection for legal costs to enforce claims against infringers, as well as any legal costs incurred for defending infringement claims made against you.
Your insurance policy must be current at the time of the claim, and the amount you are insured for needs to be adequate to meet your possible legal costs.
Speak to us for more information on IP Insurance, and the best way to protect your IP and your business.
Conditions apply for each policy and the information expected from you for a policy to trigger. Coverage may differ based on specific clauses in individual policies. Please ask your broker to explain the additional benefits and exclusions pertaining to your policy.
The information provided is general advice only and does not take account of your personal circumstances or needs. Please refer to our financial services guide which contains details of our services and how we are remunerated.