INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW
At Greyson Legal we have the hands-on-experience, knowledge and skills to assist and advise you in relation to your intellectual property (IP) requirements.
Whether you are looking for (a) IP advice; (b) assistance with IP protection strategies; (c) IP Infringement enforcement; (d) IP Licensing and agreements; (e) registration of IP rights; (f) IP dispute resolution; or (g) other assistance in regards to IP - we can assist you.
We endeavour to understand your business and industry when advising on strategies to protect and build your IP portfolio. Our legal advice is tailored to your requirements and goals.
What is Intellectual Property ?
In broad terms, intellectual property is a form of intangible property right created by a person through their mind, for example, creating:- an invention, design or brand.
At a base level, there are two types of IP:
- registered - involving an application and following certain prescribed steps with a recognised government or statutory body (for example, IP Australia); and
- unregistered - where there is no application through a government or statutory body.
Intellectual property encompasses different IP rights including: - copyright, trade marks, registered designs, patents, circuit layout designs, plant breeder rights, trade secrets (or know-how).
It is feasible that a particular product could utilise a multitude of IP rights, for example:
- say Inventor "A" creates a unique product "X";
- they want to commercialise product X;
- to do that, Inventor A needs to minimise the risk that other competitors may try to copy product X, etc;
- to achieve this, Inventor A may adopt an IP strategy involving:
* registering a trademark to protect the brand;
* registering a patent in relation to how the product works;
* registering a design in regards to the shape of the packaging or look of the product; and
* ensuring that appropriate documentation, artwork, marketing material, etc, are able to be protected through copyright.
Why do I need to know about IP ?
Intellectual property can be a significant asset, so ensuring your interests in the IP are appropriately protected and that infringement and disputes are dealt with adequately should be a key element of any risk minimisation strategy.
Whether you are just starting a business or an existing business owner, standing out from your competitors is an important element for ongoing business viability and success. Having an appropriate IP strategy in place will help you to achieve these goals.
Most businesses have different IP interests. We find though that business owners often misunderstand, under-value or do not appropriately protect their IP interests - which leaves those IP interests vulnerable to being lost or abused.
Greyson Legal can assist you in identifying and implementing legal solutions to help you protect and maximise the value of your IP.
Contact us for an obligation free discussion about we can help you.
Our Intellectual Property Law Services
At Greyson Legal our intellectual property lawyers can advise on a range of areas, including:
An IP Audit is essentially the process of investigating:
- what intellectual property your own;
- if it is still current; and
- how it is protected.
For example, the audit might seek to establish:
- what brand names you have;
- if you use a logo to help differentiate your business;
- the types of copyrighted material you own;
- your expertise and know how;
- if confidential information is appropriately protected;
- the existence of any IP licences;
Depending on the nature of your business, IP can be a significant asset. By undertaking a through IP audit it is possible to identify IP assets, ensure they are current and protected and aid in adding value to your business.
Contact us for information on how we can help you carry out an IP Audit.
Trade Secrets and Know How
Intellectual property is not restricted just to copyright, trade marks, registered designs or patents. There are other forms of IP, such as, trade secrets and know how.
If you are in business, there will be certain types of information that you would not want disclosed to your competitors, the general public or others, for example, customer data or customer lists.
You may also have developed certain business processes or expertise in a particular area. If you keep confidential information, operate a business based on particular know how, or utilise specialist business systems, these are often referred to as trade secrets and know how.
The recipe for Coca-Cola is an example of a trade secret.
To ensure this type of information and expertise is not improperly disclosed, you need to implement an appropriate IP strategy.
Greyson Legal can provide you with advice and assistance putting in place strategies to secure your IP.
If you sell goods or services on-line, operate an on-line business, or utilise your own website for your business - then it is important to be aware of your rights and the risks and obligations of being involved with digital technology. For example:
- if you have a business website, then you should consider adopting appropriate terms and conditions for users of your website;
- if you are concerned about others improperly copying images from your website where you own the copyright in those pictures - look at ways to discourage unauthorised copying, such as, using watermarks on your images. And consider placing a copyright notice on your website in regards to the copyright in content your have created;
- if you are selling goods overseas, be aware that even if you have registered IP here in Australia - that registration on its own will not protect you in overseas markets from the risk of copying. Where you plan to sell goods overseas, you need to look at IP strategies that will protect your IP rights in those specific jurisdictions;
- be careful not to inadvertently use another person's IP without their permission. Do your research. Searches can be carried out to check if certain IP is owned by another and it is often possible to licence IP from other owners - but contact needs to be made with them and approval given before you start using their IP - otherwise you risk infringing their IP rights and exposing yourself to being sued.
If you are looking to establish a business website or sell goods or services on-line, contact Greyson Legal for assistance with (a) website terms & conditions; (b) privacy policies; (c) domain names; (d) and general IP legal advice.
IP and Employees | Contractors
If you are operating a business, it is likely you also employee others in your business or engage contractors to assist in selling your range of goods and services.
Have you thought about the process to apply in respect of protecting your intellectual property in the hands of your employees or contractors ?
Depending on the nature of your business, your employees or contractors might be involved in developing software, writing articles or internal business documents, creating marketing material or logos, or inventing new products. If so, those employees and contractors may either have access to or help create different types of intellectual property for the business, such as:- trade secrets, copyright, trade marks, designs or patents.
That being the case, it is important as an employer to ensure you have appropriate strategies in place to protect your IP rights.
As IP forms an important asset of the business, it is expected you will want to limit the risk of an employee or contractor taking your IP or using it in a way that you have not authorised.
As a general rule, did you know that the law deals with rights in relation to IP created by an employee in a different way to IP created by a contractor ?
One strategy to assist in protecting your IP and confidential information (as an employer or principal) is to have in place a properly drawn up Employment Agreement or Contractors Agreement that contains relevant terms and conditions.
Greyson Legal can assist you to prepare Employment Agreements, Contractors Agreements and other commercial documents to limit your exposure to IP theft and infringement.
For expert advice and assistance in relation to your intellectual property requirements contact Greyson Legal