Getting started: Protecting your intellectual property.
Whether you’re a start-up or an established business, you might wonder if you have any intellectual property (IP), and if it needs to be protected. Identifying your own IP and finding out the best way to deter copycats and maintain brand integrity is a great first step towards discovering how IP right protection can support your business.
Where do I start?
You can start by considering how you would answer the following questions:
- What are my key products or services that set my business apart from competitors? This may include a brand, logo, invention, design, artistic work, or new plant variety and each of these can be protected with registered IP rights.
- What legal rights can I have for my products or services? There are four IP rights you can register with IP Australia to protect your products or services — trade marks, patents, design rights and plant breeder’s rights. To maximise your competitive advantage, you may need to protect your idea with multiple types of IP rights.
- Does having registered IP right protection improve my place in the market? Your customers come to expect a certain level of quality and service from you and your brand, allowing you to establish and build your brand presence and reputation in the market. Not having a registered IP right leaves room for other businesses to copy you and confuse customers – misleading them into thinking they are you. Registering your IP gives you exclusivity in chosen markets, providing a legal defence pathway to prevent others from imitating you or producing and selling your product without having agreements it place.Registered IP right protection can provide many advantages as you plan for business growth. So, think about how you intend to use and commercialise your IP to give you your competitive advantage. Also identify your potential markets and consider licensing or franchising to generate revenue for your business.
Having answers to these questions will help you with identifying and placing value on your IP, so you can decide if registering an IP right is right for your business.
Determining whether to pursue IP protection is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. You should carefully evaluate each of these factors for your business when deciding how to protect your IP. It may seem a daunting process, but the protection and commercialisation of IP should be an integral part of your business’ strategy.
IP rights can be vital in securing revenue streams and building consumer and investor confidence in your products or services, particularly for a start-up business. IP rights provide a solid foundation for a business to innovate and grow. Ultimately, seeking the right advice and guidance in understanding the strategic value of IP is critical to building a successful business.
Where can I find out more?
You can find out if your idea is eligible for IP protection and determine what kind of IP rights you need with IP Australia’s online business resources. Visit IP Australia’s website to learn more about the importance of protecting your assets early and planning for business growth.
If you need some help or advice, IP professionals can assist you along your IP journey, see more on our website.