Reading time: 3 minutes

As businesses grow, so does the intellectual property (IP) created by the business. You may have grown your business through discovering new ideas and solutions, all of which are considered the IP of your business. Many small businesses only trademark their logo. However, as your business grows, it may be worth considering protecting more IP. Below, we set out the key considerations for your medium business regarding intellectual property.

Trade Marks

If your business has not registered a trade mark, you consider doing so in order to avoid others infringing upon your brand. Trade marks also allow you to distinguish yourself better from your competitors and to ensure that you will be able to continue growing and running your business in the long term without worrying that someone else will attempt to use or imitate your brand name.

Registering a trade mark also provides you with rights to enforce the trade mark and to prevent infringement of it under the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth). A trade mark is not merely limited to the logo of your brand but can also include a distinctive slogan, word, sound, shape, smell or colour.

Design Registration

If your business has a substantial role in the design industry or sales of your product are based primarily on a particular visual appearance, then it may be worth considering registering the design of the product. Note that the design must be both new and creative for it to qualify for registration.

Protect your Trade Secrets

Confidential information, or trade secrets, may be easily shared or disclosed in the course of business. For example, information may need to be passed to your web designer who is designing your website. To prevent confidential information from being disclosed, ensure that Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) are signed with partners, third parties, employees and contractors. Being able to present an NDA in the case of a dispute will also show that you have taken reasonable steps to protect what can then be proven as trade secrets.

Protecting your IP for a Medium Business

Clarify what IP your business owns and what you can enforce against others. One major area of confusion is with employees’ rights – does the employer own the intellectual property created by its employees? In general, the answer is yes, if it is created in the course of the employees’ employment. However, the case of Courier Pete Pty Ltd v Metroll Queensland Pty Ltd [2010] FCA 735 highlighted the importance of protecting IP in an employment agreement. The case found that it is important that as the employer, you have set out what the employee has been hired to do and what could constitute as being in the created in the course of employment.

Key Takeaways

As a medium business, intellectual property considerations are paramount to protect fresh designs and new ideas. It is recommended that you take measures to protect what is crucial and distinctive to your business as it grows and that you are aware of what IP is rightfully yours so that you are better prepared in the event of a dispute. Contact an IP lawyer if you have any questions about your medium-sized business.

Webinars

New Kid on the Blockchain: Understanding the Proposed Laws for Crypto, NFT and Blockchain Projects

Wednesday 25 May | 10:00 - 10:45am

Online
If you operate in the crypto space, ensure you understand the Federal Government’s proposed licensing and regulation changes. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

How to Expand Your Business Into a Franchise

Thursday 26 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Drive rapid growth in your business by turning it into a franchise. To learn how, join our free webinar. Register today.
Register Now

Day in Court: What Happens When Your Business Goes to Court

Thursday 2 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
If your business is going to court, then you need to understand the process. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Manage a Construction Dispute

Thursday 9 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Protect your construction firm from disputes. To understand how, join our free webinar.
Register Now

Startup Financing: Venture Debt 101

Thursday 23 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how venture debt can help take your startup to the next level. Register for our free webinar today.
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
  • 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer