An operational business will constantly expand and contract, but it will not remain static. In the face of aggressive competition it becomes vitally important to defend any gains and creating exclusivity is vitally important. Intellectual property, the property of your mind or intellect, can relate to patents for new or improved products or processes; trade marks for letters, words, phrases, sounds, smells, shapes, logos, pictures, aspects of packaging or a combination of these, to distinguish the goods and services of one trader from those of another; designs for the shape or appearance of manufactured goods; copyright for original material in literary, artistic, dramatic or musical works, films, broadcasts, multimedia and computer programs; and confidentiality/trade secrets including know-how and other confidential or proprietary information. Other important protection can be gained by registering business, company and domain names. In many cases, with the exception of copyright, it is important that your IP is registered so that you can obtain the legal rights of ownership. This can be provide protection in Australia and in many overseas countries.
It is important to create strategies to protect your IP rights and failure to do so may put your business at risk. Public disclosure of an invention before protecting your IP rights may mean that you lose the legal right to exclusive use of your IP. Protecting a position with confidentiality agreements is important for most businesses. Freedom to operate searching is also vital at an early stage of research and development projects. As is use of laboratory notebooks for recording date of invention and reduction to practice. We can assist in developing IP strategies for your business.
A wide range of contractual agreements are also critically important to formalise business relationships. Many business owners are reluctant to enter into formal agreements as they have built a high level of trust in their partners and are usually reluctant to use legal advisors. However, not having a formal agreement in place is a threat to a business if any changes take place which complicate verbal understandings and strong personal relationships. Having an agreement, undertaking a transaction, understanding what is needed to be done (and not to be done!) should be negotiated into legally binding contracts. These most commonly include distribution, supply, confidentiality, research, GMP and employment agreements. Consultants at macoe can offer excellent practical experience on many aspects of contract law and its application to business enterprise.
Many inventors and entrepeneurs choose to protect their discoveries with the assistance of a qualified patent and trademark attorney. This is highly recommended if you have available funds.
IP Australia offer an excellent communication program which provides individuals and organisations with general information about how to take advantage of their IP.