What is intellectual property?
Intellectual property (IP) represents creations of the mind or intellect that can be legally owned. Almost every business has some form of IP that they need to protect.
IP laws allow for protection of ideas and unique creations that exist in every business. They're important for long term financial success and can make you more competitive than your rivals. But how do you stop competitors from copying your most valuable asset?
In most cases you must formally register your IP.
- IP Australia is the federal government agency responsible for granting rights in patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder’s rights. Visit their website to find more information on how IP applies to your business.
- The Australian IP Toolkit for Collaboration also helps you understand important issues in collaborations between researchers and business.
What is not IP?
Some rights don't need formal registration as they are automatically assigned to you when you create your IP. You don't need to formally register IP that falls under copyright and circuit layout rights, confidential information and trade secrets.
The name of your company, business or the domain name of your website are not IP. However, they are still important for a business to protect, as they form part of its identity, reputation and brand. If you want exclusive rights to this, you should consider protecting it with a trade mark.
You can find more information on business name registration and how to protect it.
Videos to help you understand IP
IP Australia has a number of videos to help you understand IP and what it means for your business, including:
- IP Basics for Business
- IP, know what you don't know
- IP, Balancing Costs and Benefits
- How important is IP to your business?
- Top 5 IP tips when starting your business
- Introduction to searching for a patent
Watch the videos now, and start protecting your business's unique idea.