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Intellectual property

“Nothing else in the world... not all the armies... is so powerful as an idea whose time has come”

- Victor Hugo

Branding & Trade Marks

Creative Works & Copyright

Inventions, Patents & Designs

Technology & Software

Commercialisation

 

Managing IP

IP Disputes

 

An idea is just an idea unless you do something with it.  What is unique to your business sets you apart from your competitors and is something that should be protected as an intellectual property asset.  Be courageous, invest in your IP assets and your point of difference could be the most valuable part of your business.

Your business already has intellectual property.  Whether you have created a brand, developed a website, designed an artwork, written a blog or invented a product, you have created intellectual property.  Intellectual property touches all industries and sits in all businesses.   It is important for a business to know what rights it has or should protect and how those rights can be used to advantage.

You may understand IP to cover trade marks, copyright, designs and patents.  These are the more common forms of intellectual property but this area of law covers anything developed through creativity or intellectual effort including software, research and development, confidential information and trade secrets and plant breeders rights.

At Sladen Legal we believe that intellectual property rights are an essential ingredient for businesses to thrive and flourish.  Our team provides personalised strategies to ensure that our clients achieve their desired results and outcomes for their businesses.  We have experience and knowledge to assist clients not only to secure their rights, but exploit them to ensure the growth of their businesses.

How healthy is the IP in your business? Check out our IP Health Checklist to quickly identify some of the IP that sits within your business.

We provide expert advice and guidance on:

  • Branding and Trade Marks
  • Creative Works and Copyright
  • Inventions and Designs
  • Technology and Software
  • Commercialisation
  • Disputes

IP News

Branding & Trademarks

A successful brand represents so much more than a logo and a name.

A strong brand signifies everything from your values and customer service style, to the personality of your company and the people who engage with you, your brand reflects what makes you unique. With so much meaning in just a few words, a brand demands exclusive use. 

Registering a business or company name, does not grant exclusivity to a business.  The brand must be registered as a trade mark.  Read our Why Register A Trade Mark brochure. 

A trade mark registration is an asset that can increase in value. It can also protect a business from infringing another registered trade mark.  The most powerful right a trade mark registration provides is being able to stop another company to using a trade mark similar to yours, ensuring your brand is exclusively yours.

Before a business commences using a trade mark, it is a good idea to see if anyone else has registered it.  to The starting point is to identify if it is available for use in Australia to ensure your business does not find itself in a dispute with a registered trade mark owner.

At Sladen Legal, we assist businesses to search the availability of their trade marks when adopting a new brand and advise on the best way to protect the trade mark through registration in Australia.  If you are ready to protect your trade mark, contact the team directly or make an online request at any time through the Sladen Store.

Application Process in Australia

Inventions, Patents & Designs

Turn your original, creative idea or invention into a product, and protect it.

Are you working on something that is new and innovative? 

Does it fix an existing problem?

Is it something that advances or improves the current technology in the industry?

Yes?  Then you may have developed an invention and you should look at ways of protecting it.

You can protect inventions three different ways:

  1. Get a patent registration
    A patent protects the way an invention works, its utility and functionality.
  2. Get a design registration
    A design registration protects the way in which an invention looks, its visual features.
  3. Keep it confidential
    Can you keep a secret?  If you still want to protect your invention but decide not to obtain registrations, you may still be able to protect it if you can keep the invention a secret.  Confidentiality agreements can help if you need to disclose the invention to others.

At Sladen Legal, we like to explore the underlining technology of inventions so that we can fully understand key functionality to help our clients maximise the protection available.  Where appropriate, we team up with technology experts in the fields of mechanical engineering, physics, electronics, chemistry, biotechnology and software to ensure all the inventive features are protected according to technical and industry standards.

Technology & Software

HTML Java Script Jquery Json Front-end Development Back-end Development AJAX SEO (Search Engine Optimization) IA (Information Architecture) SA (Systems Architect) CMS (Content Management System) Domain Names GUI (Graphical User Interface) Meta Data Meta Tags Plug In Wireframing Prototyping Scenario Mapping Web Hosting Cybersquatting OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Data Breach Coding Response Times Downtime Platform Portal The Cloud.

These once techie terms are becoming common place in everyday business.  Businesses and individuals alike are adapting to and adopting technology like never before.  Embracing technology to maximise productivity is now a necessity rather than an optional extra.  And developing inventive technology is a highly sought-after commodity.

Whether a provider or customer of technology and software, key technological issues include who is the author and who is the owner of the technology and software, the granting and receiving of access by the licensing of technology and software, any applicable use restrictions, who supports the technology with fixes and updates, who is accountable for service levels, whether hosting services are required and whether any research and development is necessary.

As technology becomes more sophisticated, the law relating to technology is playing catch up.  And that’s how we can help.  At Sladen Legal, we assist clients in the technology space to develop strategies for managing intellectual property rights contained in developed technology, for the best way to commercialise them including advising on licensing structures like the below and on the necessary measures to ensure compliance with privacy law, data security law and confidentiality.

Possible Software Licensing Structure

 

Commercialisation

If you are buying, selling, developing for others, licensing, accessing or disclosing intellectual property then you are commercialising intellectual property.   

The goal for IP creators and innovators is to commercialise IP for a licence fee, royalty or sale price to recover the cost of development at a minimum.  But it could be so much more.  Commercialising IP can lead to multiple sustainable revenue streams for IP owners. To support this return, IP owners need to maintain control over the commercialisation through written agreements or contracts.

Why are written agreements or contacts necessary?  Some IP rights cannot be sold without a written agreement so if you are purchasing IP this is vitally important.  If IP rights are being created then outlining who will own the IP will be critical as paying for the creation of IP is not enough to claim ownership.  Where an IP owner wants to licence its IP on a grand scale, placing access restrictions and quality controls on each licensee is essential. Contracts will also give IP owners peace of mind by minimising risks when commercialising.

Intellectual property rights can be commercialised in an array of agreements including:

  • licensing agreements including software;
  • supply and distribution agreements;
  • manufacturing agreements;
  • service or contractor agreements;
  • sponsorship agreements;
  • marketing agreements;
  • sale and shareholder agreements;
  • employment agreements
  • confidentiality agreements;
  • research and development agreements;
  • material transfer agreements;
  • project agreements/joint venture agreements;
  • terms of trade;
  • website terms of use; and
  • franchising agreements.

At Sladen Legal, we support our clients through the entire commercialisation process so that their rights are best protected and revenue generation is maximised.  From assessing IP protection and structuring the project, through to drafting and negotiating contacts and then following up any resulting compliance requirements. 

Three stages of IP creation

 

Managing IP

Intellectual property is not a ‘set and forget’ type of asset.

Once you have IP registered, it is not time to put your feet up. Due to its dynamic nature, things are constantly changing and evolving with intellectual property.  Businesses need to take positive steps to manage their intellectual property.

The simplest change can have the most serious of consequences.  For example, if a business registers its own trade mark and then moves offices but does not inform the Trade Marks Office of the change of address, the business will lose its registration if someone files an action to remove the trade mark for non-use.  This is because the trade mark owner has two months to oppose a non-use action and it will not receive the notification from the Trade Marks Office to defend its registration if the Trade Marks Office has the incorrect address.  The registration will be cancelled.   To avoid this from happening, are happy to receive Trade Mark Office correspondence for our clients so that no deadline will be missed that will put registrations at risk.

You cannot manage what you cannot see - some businesses do not know the intellectual property that sits within their walls

An IP Audit, can help identify the intellectual property a business didn’t know existed and ensures that rights are being captured and leveraged consistently and effectively.  The outcome of an IP Audit provides recommendations on the best ways to use and manage a business’s intellectual property.

Once the intellectual property of a business has been identified, we strongly recommend that the details of these assets are maintained in an IP Asset Register.  Having intellectual property assets consolidated in one central place allows for easier management of the assets and as the assets are visible to the business, those rights are more likely to be utilised through commercialisation.

At Sladen Legal, we see the management of our client’s intellectual property portfolios as a critical step in protecting their intellectual property rights.  The more we learn about our clients and their businesses, the better tailored advice we can provide.  Take a look at our IP Health Checklist for a quick IP assessment.  The more boxes you tick, the more IP assets and rights you have.

IP Disputes

 

Have you found yourself on the receiving end of a letter of demand?  Does someone think you are stepping on their IP toes?  Or is it your toes and someone is making public use of IP that is similar to yours?  You may find yourself involved in an intellectual property dispute.

The dispute could be between complete strangers, competitors, and becoming more common, between parties within the supply chain, testing relationship boundaries.  Where the parties to a dispute are known to each other and are already in a contractual relationship, the terms of the contract can become critical in the resolution of the dispute.

Central to any IP dispute are issues of unauthorised copying and similarity of IP.  This involves an analysis of evidence showing how each party uses the intellectual property, an analysis of the scope of rights acquired by the intellectual property owner and an assessment as to whether those rights have been infringed.  The dispute may be heard before the relevant IP Office in Australia in the case of an opposition or non-use action.  Or the dispute may be before the Courts.

Whether you are on the offensive by enforcing your intellectual property rights or on the defensive, here are five ways that we can help in the case of an IP dispute:

  • Prepare and respond to letters of demand relating to the infringement of registered and unregistered IP rights;
  • Conduct litigation relating to the infringement of IP rights and misleading and deceptive conduct;
  • Conduct and defend trade mark oppositions in Australia and internationally;
  • Advise on domain name disputes including cybersquatting; and
  • Negotiate the global settlement of IP disputes, as well as provide infringement advice and undertake investigations into the use of infringing IP in the market place.

Intellectual Property Lawyers

Sladen Legal can help ensure your brand is protected

Our IP Team are here to answer your IP queries. 

If you'd like us to give you a call, simply click the Book Now button below and pick a time that suits.

Send us through your IP enquiry and we will respond ASAP.

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