This post is one in a series designed to help SME businesses benchmark their business and create a best practice business improvement plan across all of their business processes. You can find the links to the full series here.
Why is it important to ensure that the intellectual property in your business is properly protected?
- Your intellectual property, in particular trade marks, copyright in various types of work you may have developed (for example computer programs) and patents can define your brand and products.
- Your intellectual property can add significant value to your business. Think of some of the most valuable brands in the world.
- Many business owners believe registering a business or company name provides adequate IP protection. Not so, you need to register a trade mark to properly protect your brand and products.
- Trade marks, design rights and patents need to be properly registered with IP Australia, and if necessary internationally, to be properly enforceable.
- Other intellectual property, for example the trade secrets of your business needs to be protected from misuse by competitors or employees.
How does your business measure up?
Here’s a checklist to help you determine how well the intellectual property in your business is protected.
- We understand our different IP rights and how to protect them.
- We have registered trade marks with IP Australia to protect our brand and any significant products developed by our business.
- We have proper employment contracts/independent contractor agreements, which contain comprehensive confidentiality clauses regarding our valuable IP.
- Those agreements also ensure that our business retains ownership of any IP developed by an employee or contractor.
- We have properly drafted agreements with distributors or suppliers, which protect our IP rights.
- We have a register of all IP owned by our business, with key renewal dates.
- We keep our IP register up to date and regularly monitor possible infringement of our IP.
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