Intellectual Property (IP) is an increasingly important area of the law in the 21st century. IP is a valuable business asset which can determine the success or failure of an enterprise.
Registering, protecting and enforcing IP rights can be a complex and challenging exercise.
Fortunately, MatthewsFolbigg Lawyers are experts in the field and are ready to assist you with any IP issues you may have.
What is IP?
IP is often overlooked as a business asset. It can take a variety of forms, including:
- trade secrets
- registered business names
- website domain names
- confidential information
While some IP rights come into existence upon creation (e.g. copyright), other IP rights must be registered to receive protection (e.g. trademarks and patents).
Is IP really ‘property’?
Yes. Like other kinds of property, IP rights are capable of being sold and transferred, or licensed, to another party. These transactions are documented in the form of a Deed of Assignment or Licensing Agreement, respectively.
Which contracts deal with IP?
Disputes about IP rights can arise in many commercial contexts. Therefore, most commercial agreements should contain an IP clause clearly setting out the rights and obligations of the parties with respect to IP. Some examples of these types of contracts include:
- employment and independent contractor agreements
- joint venture agreements
- supply and distribution agreements
- software development and IT agreements
- franchise agreements
- advertising and sponsorship agreements
- sale of business agreements
- confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements
A well-drafted agreement (with appropriate indemnity and dispute resolution clauses) can have a significant deterrent effect on potential infringers.
What steps are involved in registering IP?
Some IP rights, such as patents and trademarks, must be registered to enjoy full protection. Registration can be a lengthy and complex process, involving:
- lodging an application
- dealing with any requisitions or oppositions
- obtaining registration of the IP right for a certain period of time
- renewing the registration (for some IP rights, such as trademarks and designs)
What if somebody infringes on my IP rights?
Unfortunately, IP infringement may still occur despite the best efforts of the owner to protect his or her interests. In these circumstances, it is vital that you obtain expert legal advice and representation.
How can we help?
MatthewsFolbigg’s commercial law term offer the full range of contentious and non-contentious specialist intellectual property services. We can help you to register your IP rights (or oppose pending registrations), commercialise your IP rights and enforce them against any infringers.
Our lawyers are experienced advocates and have appeared before the Registrar of Trade Marks, the Supreme Court of NSW, the Federal Court of Australia and the NSW Court of Appeal. We will work with you to develop legal strategies that maximise and protect the commercial potential of your unique brands, ideas and technological advances.
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