Understanding Intellectual Property

In broad terms Intellectual Property concerns the “property of the mind”. In today’s world of freely available information from multiple sources it is imperative that information or ideas, which have been created by your mind, are protected from exploitation and unauthorised use.

•  Is the name and reputation of your business well known within your community? Do you have customers that are loyal to your brand?

• Are your products sold with a unique design that makes them particularly attractive, causing them to stand out from other rivals’ products?

• Does your business have special trade secrets or other information that gives you an edge over your rivals?

• Are you about to sell or use a new invention that could potentially bring you or your business large commercial profits?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should definitely take the time to consider protecting yourself and your business with Intellectual Property Laws. Doing this can give you rights that you can use against your rivals to protect your economic investment in certain creative efforts.

For example, to handle the above situation, you could use Intellectual Property Laws to:

1. Sue your rivals for “passing-off” when they try to mimic your brand logo on their products, but you must be able to prove that consumers commonly identify that logo as belonging to your business, service or goods. This would be much easier to prove if your logo was a registered trademark. Some famous registered trademarks include McDonald’s, the Nike “tick” symbol and even Cadbury’s shade of purple.

2. Take your rivals to court for breach of confidential information or copyright infringement depending on the type of information they take away from you. Trade secrets are commonly protected by confidentiality agreements and they can protect a recipe for a product or a manufacturing process. The most famous examples are the Coca-Cola soft drink formula or KFC’s 11 Secret Herbs and Spices.

3. Monopolise and commercially exploit your prized inventions or technologies if they were patented. This monopoly lasts a period of either 8 or 20 years depending on how “inventive” your inventions are. You can also sue your rivals for patent infringement.

At Quinn Lawyers, our team of lawyers can help you determine which type of Intellectual Property protection is the most suitable for you and can also advise you on any related issues you have concerning your business. If you would like more information on how Intellectual Property can help protect your business, please do not hesitate to submit an online enquiry or call 1300 QUINNS (784 667) to book an appointment.