Reading time: 3 minutes

Artists and creatives build their career from making something out of nothing, the product of which often involves significant time and effort. This product is your intellectual property. To lose your work because someone else has copied it is discouraging and disrespectful. It is always the best policy to ensure you have done everything you can to protect your intellectual property. Below, we set out our top 5 tips to protect your IP.

1. Copyright it

This form of IP protection is the most practical and most efficient way to protect your IP because it’s both quick and free. Copyright protection is automatic as long as what you have produced is an original creative, intellectual or artistic work. Under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), this also includes a table of words and figures and a computer program.
To copyright your work, place a copyright notice when the work is published. The most efficient way is to include the © symbol, your name and the year the work is created.

2. Register your design

If you are a designer who has designed something for industrial or commercial use, then a further layer of protection is necessary to register your design. A design is a shape, configuration, pattern or ornament. Notably, a design must be both new and distinctive to be registered.

To register your design, you must apply to IP Australia to have your design examined and certified. If your registration is successful, it will be protected for up to five years, which can then be extended to ten. Ensure that you have not published or exhibited your design anywhere before applying, either online (including all social media) and offline, as this may hinder your chances of registration.

3. Register your trade mark

A trade mark is used to protect your brand, which is not merely your logo but can also include a phrase, word, picture or combination of them all. It is essentially a way customers can uniquely identify your business from others.

It is important to note that a trade mark is different to design. While a design must be new and distinctive, a trade mark does not – it refers to more of the branding of a product rather than its visual features.

To register your trade mark, you must file an application with IP Australia. If and once this is approved, you must then apply to have it registered, before which the trade mark will be advertised for two months to allow for any opposition to be raised. The process will take a minimum of 7 months. Once registered, the trade mark will last for up to 10 years from its filing date.

4. Patent protection

Patents are used to protect an invention, including appliances, mechanical devices, technology-related inventions, biological inventions and business methods. Patents give you the exclusive right to exploit your invention commercially. However, you are also required to disclose publicly how your invention works.

The drawback of a patent is its cost. It is recommended that you only use this method if you would like to protect the way your invention works and if you are confident, the commercial return of your invention will outweigh the time and cost it will take to patent it. If undecided, you can apply for a provisional application that is relatively inexpensive and will allow you 12 months to decide if a full application is worth the cost.

If you have any questions about protecting your creation and intellectual property, our IP lawyers can assist.

Webinars

Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Online
Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards