Intellectual property

Guarding Innovation Against Imitation

What is intellectual property?

“Intellectual property” refers to the ownership of ‘creations of the mind’ such as new products and processes. Intellectual property rights (IPRs) allow you to retain ownership. Without them, your competitors may be well within their rights to copy your latest creations.



What are the main types of intellectual property right?

The main types of IPRs are patents, design registrations, trade mark registrations and copyright.

Types of intellectual property rights

Patents can be used to stop others copying important functional details of new products and processes. They last for up to 20 years.

Design registrations can be used to stop others copying the appearance of new products. In Australia, design registrations last for up to 10 years.

Trade secrets do not protect you from reverse engineering or from your competitors independently developing similar technology.

Trade marks can be used to stop others using your trade mark in relation to selected goods and services. They can last indefinitely.

Copyright is automatic but, generally speaking, does not protect manufactured products once in production.

Geographical indications identify a good as originating from a particular place.

Plant variety protection protects plant and plant material.

The surest way to protect your IP is to create layers of protection. Patent, design and trade mark protection can be pursued in parallel. This is often recommended.

What is an intellectual property attorney?

IP attorneys are specialists who focus on securing IPRs for their clients. Patent attorneys focus on patents and designs and have a combination of technical qualifications (e.g. an engineering degree) and legal training. Trade mark attorneys are often dual qualified as IP lawyers. more

Further reading

-> How to patent an idea

-> How to register a design

-> How much does a patent cost?


Experienced professionals specialising in IP. Melbourne based. Global reach.