Intellectual Property in your Business – What is it?
Do you hear terms like intellectual property and say to yourself “my business doesn’t have any”? Are you confused by legal mumbo jumbo? It doesn’t matter what business you own you will have generated intellectual property in your business. Intellectual property is the term given to the non-tangible parts of your business and is something that is worthwhile protecting.
Does my business own intellectual property?
The short answer to this question is yes. All businesses own intellectual property no matter how small. Intellectual property includes confidential information, copyright, and trademarks. It is often very difficult as a business owner to see what intellectual property you own. As you work in your business you will often presume that everyone is doing the same thing as you are in your business. Every business is unique and has something worth protecting.
All businesses will have information that they want to keep confidential, including client details, the information about how the work is done or supplier information. Protecting that intellectual property is important for your business. Without protection it is difficult to stop someone using your ideas. To protect your business you need to have an agreement in place or be protected automatically by the law.
Whenever you create something new, the way that you express that idea (not the idea itself) is protected by copyright. For instance this article is protected by copyright so that you cannot simply copy it put your name on it and publish it as your own but the ideas that I discuss in the article are not protected by copyright.
Any name or logo that you use in a business is a trademark. Once you start using that trademark in business you are protected from other people and businesses using that trademark in a way that makes it seem that they are actually part of your business. You can apply to register your trademark. Registration protects your trademark (for 10 years) from any other person using it or something similar throughout the whole of Australia. You need to check, before you start using a trademark that something similar is not already registered. If there is a similar trademark then that person can prevent you from trading using a similar trademark.
How do I protect my Intellectual Property?
Protecting your intellectual property is important for any business, it is what makes you and your business unique. You need to weigh the costs vs the benefits of protection to work out what it is that you want to achieve. Simply spending money for the sake of the protection may be unnecessary and stifle technology for many years.
Jeremy Streten is a lawyer and the author of the amazon best seller “The Business Legal Lifecycle” (www.businesslegallifecycle.com) which is a guidebook designed to help business owners understand what they are doing in their business from a legal perspective and give them a plan for the future. Jeremy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a special offer to Nacre Consulting clients for the Christmas Period, we are happy to sell you a copy of the Business Legal Lifecycle for $15 (usually $29.95). If you wish to take us up on this special offer please email email@example.com before 15 December 2017 to order your copy. Please include your postal address so we can send you your personal copy of the book.