As intellectual property lawyers in Melbourne, we get asked all the time, “what is intellectual property law all about?” It can be a bit complex at times, but intellectual property protects individuals and businesses from having their thoughts and ideas copied by others. There are several elements contained within IP law, and by understanding each of them, individuals and companies can be more safely protected.
A critical aspect of intellectual property, patents are legally enforceable rights for devices, substances, methods or processes that are considered new, useful and innovative. A standard patent is granted for up to twenty years from the filing date of your application (or up to 25 years for pharmaceutical substances). An innovation patent only lasts for up to 8 years.
Broadly, a patent will give you exclusive commercial rights to your invention (a monopoly). Applying for patents is a long and complicated process, and it is highly recommended that you first talk to intellectual property lawyers before undertaking such action.
If you are starting a business, it can be a good idea to have some brand elements trademarked. Trade marks help to identify unique products or services, and can be made up of letters, numbers words, phrases, sounds, shapes, logos, packaging, movements or even smells. If you have something that is uniquely identifiable with your brand, you can trade mark it and protect it from others. Trade marks do not cover designs and must be actively used to remain valid.
A complex element of intellectual property is design; that is, what makes a product look the way it does, including shape, configuration, pattern, and ornamentation. Ultimately, it is what gives a product it’s unique appearance. Commercial design development and registration can require a significant number of inputs including designers, lawyers, marketers, accountants and many more. Registering a design is quite complex, so talk to IP lawyers before taking any action.
When Have You Been Infringed?
Understanding when your intellectual property rights have been infringed in some way. The Australian government does not monitor this area, so businesses are advised to remain vigilant. When working with an IP lawyer, you give yourself the best possible opportunity to identify breaches, develop plans and protect your business in the long term.
Talk to Allied Legal’s Intellectual Property Lawyers in Melbourne
Ultimately, IP law can be quite a complex legal area with minimal understanding in the public and business community. By working with quality intellectual property lawyers in Melbourne, businesses and individuals can work to appropriately identify which of their ideas and innovations are protected under Australian IP law. Find out more about Allied Legal’s intellectual property law services today!