Are you looking to start your own or expand your existing signwriting business? If so, you should invest some time in considering how you will protect your business’ intellectual property.
Intellectual property forms the basis of the connection between your business and your customers. If you do not take steps to protect your signwriting business’ intellectual property, you risk exposing your brand to a rogue who will seek to profit from your business’ brand and reputation. Importantly, you should have a working understanding of the types of intellectual property your business has and how they can be protected.
Where do I begin with protecting the intellectual property of my business?
Intellectual property is a broad term used to cover copyright, trade secrets, patents and trademarks. Protecting all of your signwriting business’ intellectual property can be an arduous and costly process. Fortunately, it is unlikely that every single piece will require immediate protection. You will need to prioritise what intellectual property distinguishes your signwriting business and requires protection to maintain its competitive edge.
Trademarking your signwriting business’ name and logo is a good starting point. Trademarks are an area of intellectual property law used to regulate the use of marks that denote a product’s origin. A trademark can be any letter, word, diagram, drawing, figure, colour or even smell that you use to identify your signwriting business from that of your competition.
A business’ trademark is commonly its most valuable asset. In its absence, it would be difficult for your customers or potential customers to identify your signwriting business or the work you complete. Additionally, leaving your trademark unprotected exposes your business to other businesses using your name and logo. Another business may use the reputation attached to your unregistered trademark to gain customers and sell inferior products at a reduced price.
There is a continuously peddled misunderstanding amongst business owners that Australian law automatically protects trademarks. You should take the time to educate yourself by speaking to a trademark attorney or reading about the process to apply for trademark registration.
How do I protect the trademarks of my business?
Protecting your signwriting business’ trademarks requires registration with IP Australia. IP Australia is a government organisation that maintains a database of every registered trademark in Australia. This list is also used by international corporations when deciding on what trademark they will use.
If you are unfamiliar with the process, it can be long, tedious and costly. It is advisable that you seek legal advice to help you understand what is involved and to assist you with the application. Should another business oppose your application, a lawyer will be able to explain to you why and what your options are to challenge it.
Should you have any questions about the types of intellectual property protection your signwriting business requires, or how to protect it, please get in touch! We have a team of experienced trademark lawyers who are pleased to assist you.