Are you looking to start your own carpentry business or expand your already existing carpentry business? If so, it is critical that you take into account the need to protect your intellectual property. Intellectual property can be a somewhat nebulous term, and encompasses a vast array of separate legal areas. However, this does not mean that as a business owner you can afford to put it off or ignore it. In many cases, the success or failure of a business depends on whether or not its intellectual property is protected.

What is the intellectual property of my business?

Depending on how you run your business, there could be some areas in which you possess intellectual property. It could come in the form of patents, trademarks, trade secrets or copyright. However, you need not protect absolutely all of your intellectual property at once because thankfully for your painting business, Australian law automatically protects some of these forms of intellectual property. However, one form that you will need to defend actively, and which is in all likelihood crucial to the continued success of your business, is that of a trademark.

A trademark is essentially anything that you use to distinguish your product or business or work from that of your competition. Therefore, in some instances, the only way that a customer or prospective customer will be able to distinguish your work from that of the carpentry business down the road is through your trademark. As a result, it is your trademark that embodies your work ethic and reliability, representing every job you have ever done and product you have ever sold.

Furthermore, a trademark can be in any form whatsoever so long as it distinguishes your business from others. Consequently, Australian and international law have found marks, symbols, letters, numbers, combinations of words, scents and colours to be trademarks under the legal definition of the term. Therefore, it is important that you take the time to identify any trademarks you use in the course of your carpentry business.

Why should I protect my intellectual property/trademarks?

Unfortunately, there are a number of rather unscrupulous businessmen who, instead of taking the time to build the reputation of their carpentry business through hard work and craftsmanship, look to take advantage of the reputation of others. Consequently, it is possible that, even if you have been using a trademark for a number of years, another business owner could use it to attract customers that would otherwise have come to you. Also, and this is a worst case scenario, it could be possible for this other business to protect your trademark by registering it with IP Australia, thereby preventing you from using it ever again.

How do I protect my intellectual property/trademark?

The only way to protect the trademark you use for your carpentry business is by registering it with IP Australia. It sounds simple enough; however, it is not an easy process. You will be required to comply with many criteria, and go through a significant amount of steps before your trademark can even be considered for registration. Also, this process places a great deal of pressure on business owners who are busy with the day-to-day running of their business.

As a result, it is certainly advisable that you seek the advice of a legal professional before you begin the process of registration. This will have the effect of easing a significant amount of pressure on you and make the registration process a great deal more bearable. In addition, in the event that another business challenges the registration of your trademark due to it being similar to another, you will already have someone in your corner and familiar with both your business and your trademark. This could prove valuable, as the last thing you would want is to go through the entire process, only to have your application for registration rejected at the last hurdle.

Conclusion

If you are looking to start your own carpentry business or expand your already existing carpentry business, it is important that you take into account the need to protect your intellectual property. Although there are a vast number of areas in which your business could have intellectual property, a good place to start is with the registration of your trademarks. From there you will be able to ensure the protection of the identity of your business before branching out to protect all of the intellectual property of your business. However, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a legal professional to ensure the process is as smooth as possible. Finally, if you have any further questions regarding how to protect the intellectual property of your business, feel free to call LegalVision for a fixed-fee quote.

Adi Snir

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