Develop your IP strategy
Why have an IP strategy?
If your business creates something that can be legally owned, it makes sense to develop a strategy to protect it.
You should consider having an intellectual property (IP) strategy when:
- you start your business
- you develop your business plan
- when you are importing or exporting your products
- you have employees who have the ability to reveal your IP
- your business changes its structure.
Also make sure you review your IP strategy on a regular basis, especially when there is a significant change to your business.
Register your IP
An effective strategy for businesses to protect their IP is to formally register it with IP Australia. Though registering is more costly and time consuming than other strategies, without formal protection you will have to rely on common law to prove ownership.
When your business creates a unique idea, product, service, or design, you may need to apply for IP rights to protect it and stop it from being used by someone else.
A serious risk to your business can also come from staff members and contractors revealing your intellectual property to others. Having a confidentiality agreement as part of your IP strategy will protect you in the event of having to prove a breach of your IP.
Conduct an IP audit
Often referred to as ‘due diligence’, conducting an audit of your intellectual property can be highly valuable. This is especially important when there is change to your business such as a merger or significant purchase. It will help determine the value of your IP, who owns it, its legal status and what to do to maintain and protect it.
An IP audit may contain documents, surveys, interviews and searches of public registers for patents, trade marks, designs and any infringement notices.
Make sure you involve someone with knowledge in IP law, and someone from within your business who knows the details of your IP.
- Read more information on auditing your IP on the IP Australia website.
Understand infringement and take legal action
As the owner of IP, it’s your responsibility to ensure you enforce them. Effective enforcement should be part of your IP strategy so you know how you will take action if someone does infringe on your IP.