Develop an intellectual property strategy

You should develop an intellectual property (IP) strategy that guides decision making about protecting your inventions.

There are different types of IP protection in Australia, each with its own legislation: copyright, patents, trademarks, registered designs, plant breeder's rights and circuit layout rights. IP strategies should also include confidential information and domain names. Each strategy provides a specific type of protection.

A number of factors influence a decision on the type of protection to use. These include:

  • timing
  • cost
  • value
  • degree of protection required.

Layering of intellectual property

It is not unusual to employ different forms of IP protection to protect different aspects of an original creation. The practice is called 'layering'.

In the case of a vehicle, multiple components are likely to be protected by some form of IP rights. For example, design rights can be used to protect the vehicle's body design (e.g. VW Beetle, grille (e.g. the Rolls Royce grille) or seats). Patents can protect components such as engines or brakes. There is copyright in production manuals, and the name of the car can be registered as a trademark. Trade secrets can also be used to protect processes behind the development and production of the vehicle.