How to Protect Your Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization, refers to creations of the mind such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
Intellectual Property may be bought or sold and is a valuable asset hence, the need for it to be protected by law. Intellectual Property Rights have been established to cater to the different kinds of Intellectual Properties:
Copyright protects the work from being copied, gives the owner exclusive rights to the reproduction, adaption, or dissemination of the work for a period of up to 70 years after the death of the creator. Original work of art, literature, photography, music, film, broadcast, databases and computer programs are some of the most common forms covered by the Copyright. It is denoted by the © symbol, however, there is no system of registration of Copyright.
A Design Registration protects the design or the look of the product but not the product itself. It gives the owner protection for five years and may be renewed for another five years. The Design Registration usually covers manufactured or handmade products.
A Patent grants the owner exclusive rights to the invention and the ability to license other parties to use their invention. Patent protects devices, substances, methods or processes or computer programs.
In Australia, there are two forms of Patents:
- Innovation Patent
An Innovation Patent protects development in existing technology and lasts up to 8 years.
- Standard Patent
Standard Patent grants the owner exclusive rights to distribute the invention, commercially exploit the product and also prevent others from using or selling the invention for up to 20 years. In a Standard Patent, the invention must show an inventive step and must also be something that is novel and not existing in its field. Detailed specifications of the inventions and how it works are needed in order for a Standard Patent to be obtained.
Trade Mark gives the owner exclusive rights to use, sell or authorise others to use the Trade Mark and lasts for 10 years. It may be renewed every 10 years and is denoted by the symbol ®. A Trade Mark may be a word, phrase, letter, number, shape, colour, picture, logo, sound, smell, aspect of packaging or a combination or two or more of these and is used to distinguish the goods or services of one business from another.
The symbol ™ indicates that a Trade Mark has not been registered but the rights have accrued through use.
Intellectual Property is promoted and protected to encourage further innovation for the benefit of all.
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