Taking your business and its intellectual property global

Taking your business and its intellectual property global

Embarking on the journey of exporting is exciting for any business owner looking to expand into global markets. Before entering your chosen market, it’s important to plan early, and develop a strategy to protect your intellectual property (IP) in international markets.

As part of your planning and IP strategy development you might consider if you need overseas IP protection. It’s important you understand the unique requirements of each country, the opportunities and risks involved when going global, and include these in your IP strategy.

Before you get started, consider the below points as you develop your strategy:


Plan and research

  • planning is an important first step in the process of applying for IP right protection. It’s essential to conduct thorough research on the markets you wish to enter, as this will provide valuable insights into the potential opportunities and challenges that may arise
  • within your plan, consider costs involved in seeking protection including registration fees, and the costs of defending your IP against infringement. This may be crucial for you as they will directly impact the number of countries you choose to apply for protection in
  • the application process can vary significantly from one country to another. It’s important to familiarise yourself with the specific requirements of each country you intend to trade in. This could mean applying directly to each country, or through a single filing with the World IP Organisation (WIPO) that can reach multiple countries simultaneously. The method you choose will largely depend on the type of IP right you are seeking to protect
  • take the time to plan and research. By doing so, you can ensure that you are well-prepared to navigate the complexities of the international landscape. IP Australia provides a wealth of resources to assist in this process, including links to both domestic and international search databases



  • an integral part of your strategy is to conduct searches of databases as part of your strategy and before you apply. The primary reason for this is to ascertain whether your product, or something similar, already exists in the international market you wish to trade in. Conducting searches can help avoid potential legal complications or financial loss
  • conduct thorough searches for existing patents, trade marks, design rights or plant breeders’ rights. IP Australia provide access to both domestic and international search databases


Seek help

  • while the process of applying for IP rights overseas can be challenging, it can also be rewarding, and the good news is, you don’t have to do it alone. There is support available to assist you. Leveraging available resources will help you navigate this process with confidence to secure the protection you need for your IP.
  • IP Australia has a wealth of information and valuable resources to support you as you research and plan. This can include guidance on how to choose a professional, what to expect from the process and how to ensure that your interests are adequately protected.


The application process

  • when planning to apply for IP rights overseas it’s fundamental that you understand that each country offers varying levels of registered IP protection and many different applications requirements for each country, and compared to Australia
  • IP Australia has information about each of the registered IP rights and the application process for applying for protection overseas:


Manage to maintain your IP protection

  • managing your IP is a critical aspect of any business strategy, particularly when planning to export. It’s essential to understand the rules, time limits and potential risks if the correct steps are not followed. Each country has its own rules and well-defined timelines for IP applications and renewals, so it’s essential to have a system in place to track these deadlines and ensure that all necessary actions are taken in a timely manner
  • the enforcement of your IP rights in each country where you plan to register is your responsibility. This means you’ll need to be proactive in identifying and addressing potential infringements. Your IP strategy should include provisions for this, outlining the steps you will take to protect your rights and the resources you will allocate to this task
  • managing your IP is not a one-time task but an ongoing process that requires careful planning and proactive monitoring, and action. By incorporating IP management into your overall strategy, you can ensure that your IP assets are effectively protected as you expand into new markets.

To find out more about taking your business global and safeguarding its IP, visit the IP Australia website.

Getting started: Protecting your intellectual property

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.


Need help?

If you need some help or advice, IP professionals can assist you along your IP journey, see more on our website.

Registering your trade mark: A how-to guide for exporters

Registering your trade mark: A how-to guide for exporters

IP Australia’s Intellectual Property Report 2022 outlines how small and medium sized businesses benefit from intellectual property (IP) ownership. Before you export, consider registering your intellectual property (IP) for protection in Australia as well as the countries you intend to trade in.

You could start by registering a trade mark. A trade mark protects your brand and distinguishes your products or services from your competition in the market. Trade mark registration lasts for ten years from the filing date, and can be renewed indefinitely.

IP Australia estimates that of the total 2.3 million registered Australian small businesses, less than 2% currently have a registered trade mark (around 28,000). This percentage is even lower for small to medium sized businesses exporting to other countries, with Australian residents filing a total of 20,452 trade mark applications abroad in 2020.

Interested in applying? Here is a step-by-step guide for registering your trade mark.


Step 1: Learn more about trade marks and decide if yours is eligible for registration

IP can be a very valuable asset for your business and should be protected to stop others using it both domestically and internationally. The most common types of trade marks are brand names, logos or a distinctive phrase.

A registered trade mark gives you the ability to:

  • maintain the exclusive rights to use the mark on select goods and services
  • license others to use your registered trade mark
  • sell your registered trade mark as a business asset
  • Use the (R) symbol with your trade mark.


Step 2: Conduct a check to make sure your trade mark isn’t already registered by someone else

TM Checker is a free trade mark tool created by IP Australia to make it easier for businesses to check trade mark availability in Australia. The tool will give you an idea if there are already trade marks that might be similar to your brand or name in the proposed classes of good and services – from there it’s a simple process to complete the application to register a text or logo trade mark.

More information on international trade marks is at step 3.

You may also want to check availability of the business name and domain name at this step. Whether you’re a sole trader, a company or a trust, business.gov.au provides a Help me decide tool to guide on the registrations you might need.


Step 3: Choose relevant goods and services

Your business may be providing goods, services or both. Trade marks only protect your name, brand or logo for the specific goods and/or services selected when you apply. That’s why your trade mark application must list the goods and services that the trade mark will be used in relation to.

Trade marks ‘classes’ refer to the groups of goods and services available for registering your trade mark. Fees are generally charged per class, and for the same price you can choose as many goods or services within a particular class as you need.


Step 4: File the application

a) Applying for an Australian registered trade mark

Applying for a registered trade mark in Australia takes approximately 15 minutes and starts at $250 for a standard application through the IP Australia website, or from $330 if you use IP Australia’s TM Headstart service or the TM Checker Tool.

To apply for a registered trade mark in Australia you must reside (or have an agent that resides) in Australia or New Zealand and intend to use the trade mark for the goods and/or services in your application.

IP rights granted in Australia do not provide protection in other countries. To protect IP in other countries, Australian applicants must file trade mark applications abroad in those countries.

There are different ways you can file a trade mark, depending on the countries you wish to do business in.

b) Applying for International registered trade marks

Trade mark applicants can obtain and maintain protection for their marks in multiple countries by filing a single international registration via the Madrid System. The Madrid System allows you to file a single trade mark application to apply for protection in up to 129 countries.

Before you can apply via the Madrid System, you’ll need a trade mark application or registration in Australia. You can learn more about the Madrid System, and apply, through the World Intellectual Property Organisation website here.

You can also apply directly with foreign intellectual property offices. In 2021, 47% of the Australian applications made abroad were filed directly with overseas offices. The most popular destinations for these filings include:


About IP Australia

IP Australia is the Australian Government agency that administers intellectual property (IP) rights and legislation relating to patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder’s rights. IP Australia has a wealth of IP related data dating back to the inception of the patent office in 1904. To find out more about IP Australia visit https://ipaustralia.gov.au

eBook launch: Resilience and Ingenuity: Global Innovation Responses to Covid-19

eBook launch: Resilience and Ingenuity: Global Innovation Responses to Covid-19

How did the innovation system respond to COVID-19? The latest publication from the Centre for Economic Policy Research looks at what happened. The ebook, written in collaboration with the EPO, the USPTO and WIPO, explores how sectors in the innovation ecosystem adjusted.

COVID-19 has caused substantial losses to public health and prompted major economic changes worldwide. The decline in global GDP in 2020 turned out to be the biggest annual decline since WWII (Gopinath 2021, IMF 2021).

Previous crises have shown that innovators, despite their long-term focus, are not immune to short-term disruptions. At the same time, crises can also be a catalyst for innovation, as they alter societies’ immediate and future technological needs.

Our economics team were pleased to contribute a Chapter analysing the growth of innovative activities and IP applications through the COVID-19 shock. Chapter 10 focuses on IP assets used to store and trade value during times of uncertainty, showing how record trade mark applications reflected waves of entrepreneurship in Australia.

It is evident that entrepreneurship in digital and health related technologies is fast growing across countries, fostered by the rapid adoption of new tools, systems and devices by scientists and creative professionals.

It is great to see how this book validates the findings of our 2022 IP Report and places Australia’s story in the global picture. It confirms that the growth in innovation and IP activity across the Australian IP landscape reflects broader patterns of resilience and change within the global economy.

Taking your IP global? Here’s what you should consider before you do

Are you considering approaching a global market with your business?

For Australian businesses, exporting to overseas markets presents an attractive opportunity for growth, and grants access to new and potentially bigger or more lucrative markets around the world.

However, in a rush to grasp the global opportunity, some businesses can unwittingly expose themselves to significant risk by not protecting their intellectual property (IP).

My IP is already protected in Australia. Why do I need to protect it for international use?

When a business protects its IP in Australia, this protection is exclusively for the Australian market and does not extend beyond our shores. This means that, unless you have your IP protected in the relevant jurisdiction, third parties may have the opportunity to use your IP to make and sell products in that jurisdiction. It can also mean that you will be unable to use your IP in those markets if someone else already owns the IP right. In this case, you may have to consider changing your IP to avoid infringement, licensing or purchasing your IP back, or even risk being sued for IP infringement.

Even if you are not intending to export your IP straight away, having global IP protection for your invention, design or brand may help preserve your ability to do so in the future.

I want to protect my IP in international markets. How do I get started?

There is no single international registration mechanism that will provide you with rights across the globe, however, there are international systems that make it easier to obtain and manage rights in multiple countries at the same time through a single platform.

Navigating global IP registration can be a complex process, so IP Australia has created detailed resources to help guide you. IP Australia provides guidance on how to approach a global market with your IP, as well as detailed profiles on how to apply for IP rights in popular markets, such as Canada, Indonesia and New Zealand.

Where can I learn more?

To learn more about protecting your IP internationally, see IP Australia’s guide to taking your IP global.

If you need help specific to your business or situation, it is recommended that you seek advice from an IP professional.

Are you considering approaching a global market with your business?

Are you considering approaching a global market with your business?

Expanding into a global market can seem daunting at first but it can provide your business with the opportunity to grow.

Before entering a global market, consider how protecting your intellectual property (IP) forms the basis of establishing your market position. It is also important to ensure you are not infringing the rights of others in your countries of choice.

How do I decide if a global market is right for my business?

There are many factors to consider when looking at a global market and assessing the resources needed to commercialise outside Australia. Analysing your resources will help to determine whether you are better off establishing your business in a domestic market first, or if approaching a global market at the same time is right for you.

You may wish to consider your:

  • financial position
  • target markets
  • local regulatory requirements
  • manufacturing capabilities
  • distribution channels and partnerships outside Australia

How do I decide what kind of IP protection I need overseas?

It is important to know that registration in Australia does not automatically grant IP rights protection overseas. IP protection overseas will need to be obtained separately.  Ensuring you are covered in all the markets you intend to enter is important.

Consider whether you need:

Navigating IP protection can be complex. IP Australia has created a range of resources to help guide you.

If you need help specific to your business or situation, it is recommended that you seek advice from an IP professional.

Where can I find out more?

To learn more about how best to approach a global market with your IP, visit IP Australia’s website.

If you need help specific to your business or situation, it is recommended that you seek advice from an IP professional.

Trade marks: improving export entry and performance

Trade marks: improving export entry and performance

For Australian businesses, exporting is an attractive option for a growing business. Opening up new and potentially larger markets around the world. In a global economy, business value and intellectual property are becoming increasingly connected. But what can we learn from trade mark activity?

IP Australia recently released the 2021 Australian Intellectual Property (IP) Report. The report features their latest research into trade mark activity and how it can be an indicator of export entry and performance.

The research indicates that after a business files a trade mark, the likelihood of them entering a global market increases. It also estimates that if a business moves from 1 registered trade mark to 2 in an export market, it is 25% more likely to export to that country, compared to businesses that did not. For exporters with 6 or more years of continual activity in the market, filing an additional trade mark can generate a 30% increase in export revenue.

Before entering a global market, consider establishing a portfolio of IP rights. This could help protect your business assets and give you a greater chance of success in foreign markets.

Where can I find out more?

You can read more in the 2021 IP Report, or visit IP Australia to learn more about approaching a global market.

If you need help specific to your business or situation, it is recommended you seek advice from an IP professional.

Intellectual Property: the complete protection for your business

Intellectual Property: the complete protection for your business

Going global opens you up to new and potentially larger markets, building and growing your business.

Intellectual Property (IP) protection can help you establish your market position and avoid infringing on existing IP in other countries.

Inventia Life Science is an Australian company established in Sydney in 2013. They focus on the development, manufacture and sale of equipment and reagents for advanced medical research assays by means of 3D bioprinting. Their mission is to inspire scientific progress towards better health by re-engineering biology.

Inventia has used a combination of IP rights to protect their business in their commercialisation journey, filing for their first patent in 2015. They then went on to file recently granted patents in the United States and Europe and have also obtained a design right to ensure that the look and shape of their product is protected. The final piece – a trade mark for complete protection, to distinguish their goods and services from other businesses.

You can hear more from Julio and Aidan from Inventia about their journey to commercialisation and the benefits of IP protection on the IP Australia website.

Where can I find out more?

You can visit IP Australia’s website to learn more about taking your business global. You can also read more about the common challenges for exports and what considerations you should take when it comes to IP protection overseas.

If you need help specific to your business or situation, it is recommended you seek advice from an IP professional.