IP Protection

IPProtectsDurationHow to secure?When to use?
PatentNovel & inventive Inventions.

Can be:
  • devices
  • methods
  • compositions
  • processes
20 years
  • When invention has significant financial commercialisation potential.
  • When invention secures only method of doing something.
  • When the invention is a platform technology that would form the basis of any number of new applications (i.e., 3D printing).
  • When the invention contributes to an existing group of patents to strengthen IP position.
  • When a quick sale is desirable (it creates a transferable asset, even as an application).
Trade SecretConfidential business information, not easily discernible.

Can be:
  • Recipes
  • Client lists
  • Formulae
  • Processes
IndefiniteJust keep it a secret.

Secure with:
  • strong employment contract
  • desirable employment conditions
  • compartmentalising portions to avoid full dissemination
  • When the idea or invention is new, but the profitability is not high enough to justify cost of a patent.
  • When it is possible to keep it secret (i.e. cannot be reverse engineered).
  • When disclosing the product or method may spark others to explore the new area first.
  • When the product formula secures a better profit when secret (secret herbs and spices).
CopyrightOriginal creative works.

Can be:
  • Literary works
  • Software code
  • Dramatic, musical or artistic works
  • Webpage/App designs
50 years (death of author)
16 years (industrial)
  • Applies automatically.
  • Use © with [Year] and sufficient detail to locate author on all works protected under copyright.
  • Take full advantage of instances where © is the best form of protection (creative concept or method otherwise not patentable).
  • For novel product designs where the not protectable by design registration.
TrademarkBrand identifiers.
Can be:
  • words
  • logos,
  • shapes,
  • colours
  • sounds and smells
On-going, renewed every 10 years.Trademark can be registered ($,™) or unregistered (free, ®).
Registered marks are easier to protect and form an asset on the balance sheet early. Note: shapes, colours and smells harder to protect (must have strong brand recognition first)
  • When the final version of novel brand name or logo has been determined, and a product or service is close to being commercialised (establish USE within first 10-year renewal period, and preferably within 3 years).
DesignsNovel features of:
  • shape
  • configuration
  • pattern
  • or ornament

as applied to an industrial use.
15 years (renewals at 5, 10 years)
  • When the final commercial version of a product is ready to be sold.
    Design must be NEW, so cannot have been disclosed prior to filing.
  • Not usual to have design application ready products within the University environment.
Plant Variety Rights (PVR)NEW specific plant varieties that are distinct, stable and sufficiently uniform.20-23 years (based on plant type).
  • When significant time and effort has been expended to develop a commercially valuable plant variety.
  • Not usual to have PVR application ready products within the University environment.

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