Creatives expend considerable time and effort transforming their great ideas into scalable products. You would then, naturally, seek to protect these wonderful ideas. If you are unfamiliar with Australia’s intellectual property framework, it can be complicated and difficult to navigate through. But before trademarking, copywriting or patenting your idea, it is first necessary to determine which intellectual property protection applies.
Are Trademarks Relevant to Inventions?
A trademark is a piece of intellectual property in a name. Under the Trademark Act 1995, it’s defined as a ‘sign’ used to distinguish goods or services dealt with in the course of trade. A sign can include one or a combination of a letter, word, name or brand. This definition then excludes protecting an idea or an innovation product. Although a trademark does not protect the invention itself, it may still be relevant.
Will Patents Give me the Protection I Want?
Australia defines a patent as a legally enforceable right granted to a substance, device, method or process that is inventive, new and useful. If a patent-owner satisfies these threshold tests and is successful in his or her application, he or she can stop competitors from producing their inventions without permission. The owner can also license the invention to others for a fee.
If you have designed what we may rejoice in being the next best thing after sliced bread, then Bingo! You may need a patent.
Monetising a Patent
Assuming your patent application is successful, commercialising the product is your next step. As an inventor, your hard work does not stop. You will need to sell your idea to the market, create a brand as well as the demand for your product that will generate profits.
As we mentioned briefly above, a trademark is relevant to commercialising a patented product. A perfect example of patents working alongside trademarks is the Sand Wedge – a unique beach chair. The Sand Wedge is compact and lightweight. It’s a backpack, beach bag, beach set and sun lounge all in one! Katherine Drayton, the Sand Wedge’s inventor, decided to patent her invention after determining nothing remotely similar existed. After securing the patent, she trademarked the Sand Wedge logo enabling her to sell her invention under a trademark protected name – the final step in achieving comprehensive intellectual property protection.
Patenting in Australia can be a costly and complex process, so you should first check that a patent is what you need and secondly whether applying for a patent is worth it.
A point should also be made that an idea itself can’t be protected. And with good reason. Something approaching Orwell’s 1984 might be the result if we passed a law preventing people thinking certain thoughts.
LegalVision’s team of experienced intellectual property lawyers would be delighted to answer any of your questions. If you need assistance with applying to patent your invention or trademark its name, please get in touch on 1300 544 755.