Intellectual property is a form of intangible property right created by a person trough their mind. An invention is a comparative example.
In Australia we recognise various types of intellectual property rights, namely:
(c) registered designs;
(d) trade marks;
(e) circuit layout designs;
(f) plant breeder's rights,
plus rights in connection with confidential information, trade secrets and domain names.
Some intellectual property rights do not require any formal registration to protect those rights. For example, copyright protection is conferred automatically upon creation of the work. However, other intellectual property rights, such as, patents and trade marks do require formal registration in order to properly protect them. Without registration, reference would need to be made to the common law to determine a person's rights.
Protection of intellectual property rights overseas is also available due to international treaties to which Australia is a signatory. However, separate registration processes within a particular country must still be complied with.
There is sometimes confusion as regards ownership of intellectual property rights when first registering a business. For example, business name registration is handled through State legislation. Accordingly, it is possible to have the same business name registered in different States to different people. Further, it is possible to register the same words as a "trademark" to which Commonwealth legislation will apply.
IMPORTANT: if the business name uses words the same as a registered trade mark owner and the goods or services are essentially the same, the trade mark owner may have rights to sue you for an infringement of its trademark. Accordingly, when a business name is to be registered it is prudent to first check that the name does not infringe on someone else's trade mark.
Quinn & Scattini can undertake appropriate searches, assist with intellectual property registrations and advise you on intellectual property rights.
If you would like to ask any question about this or any other similar issue, please call us on 1800 999 529, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.