Protecting Intellectual Property

In Show 126 – Education – Protecting Intellectual Property originally broadcast on Facebook Live on Wednesday 5 September 2018 we explore this interesting topic.

Download the show notes here: 126 – Worksheet

Show Notes

The most important part of any business is your intellectual property.  The methods and technology you’ve developed to distinguish yourself from your competitors is everything.  Protecting your IP is hugely important.  Most businesses can start-up with an internet connection and a web page so you don’t have to do this right away.  It’s going to become much more important later in the Business Legal Lifecycle. 

Copyright

Copyright is the ownership you have in the expression of an idea.  You have automatic ownership over the things that you create.  But copyright does not extend to the idea itself.  You don’t have to do anything to claim copyright.  Copyright is often misunderstood.  It does not extend into your business itself.

Trademark

A trademark is sometime called your businesses brand.  It’s how the outside world knows who you are.   It might be the business name, a symbol or a radio jingle.  It’s anything that distinguishes you from other businesses.  You can register a trademark with a government body called IP Australia.  You have to make sure that there isn’t something similar that has already been registered.  You can do that by searching existing trademarks to make sure there is no overlap.  Once you register that trademark it will be good for ten years.

There are different fees depending on what class of trademark you are registering.  An Australian trademark only works in this country.  You won’t have protection overseas.  If you want to protect your trademark elsewhere you can do so in each country you plan to operate in.  You can also apply for an international trademark through the World IP Organization .  Get advice from a professional before undertaking this expensive process.

Asset protection

This is something that is wildly misunderstood.  If you have assets you are going to want to protect them.  If you have a trading company that company is responsible for any liability.  But if someone is operating under their name without a company they themselves will be liable.  In a trading business lots of things can go wrong.  If you have IP or any other asset it should not be owned by the company that is trading.  If the business incurs debts your IP could be used to pay those debts.  You don’t want to have all of your assets controlled by a single entity.   Instead create a holding company that will license the IP to the main business.  That way you can use the IP without risking losing it in a lawsuit.

License Agreements

A license agreement allows the licensee to use but not own the IP.  You should always have a license agreement if you allow others to use your IP.  Even if the IP is being used by another company you control you should still write that agreement down.

More about this Show

We started Business Legal Lifecycle to create a simple way for you to understand complex legal terms.  Most importantly we want to help you to develop a plan to take your business successfully into the future.  There’s a startling statistic the underscores the importance of developing a solid plan.  The majority of business owners are just seven months away from losing everything.  A single aspect of your business that is not set-up correctly can shut down your whole operation very quickly.   Legal advice is not cheap and even when you can afford it there is often a divide between lawyers and their clients.  We want to close that gap once and for all.  We want to put legal knowledge and tools into your hand to prevent the worst from happening to you.

Twice a week we are going to deliver those tools right to your home or office with Business Legal Lifecycle TV.  We’ll start the week with Fast Fix Monday, a short 5-10 minute video that will tackle a single issue that businesses have to deal with.  Then on Wednesday’s our main show will feature with more fulsome discussions and interviews all delivered in a straightforward and easy to understand format.