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?

Review your business against this best practice benchmark now

BEST PRACTICE BENCHMARK: We are confident that the intellectual property in our business is adequately protected, particularly in relation to our brand and products. #Risk

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.

About the SMART-Connect Best Practice Business Law Advisor

Harvey Bowlt

Harvey Bowlt

Business Law Specialist

Harvey is an Accredited Specialist in Business Law, one of only 107 appointed by the Law Institute of Victoria. He has over 30 years’ experience in both South Africa and Australia. Prior to immigrating to Australia in 2004 Harvey enjoyed a successful career as an Attorney, Notary and Conveyancer in South Africa and was a partner in a Cape Town law firm, where he specialised in High Court litigation, commercial and property work. For the past 13 years Harvey has practised solely in commercial law and specialises in managing risk in businesses.

Harvey started Bowlt Commercial Lawyers because he recognised that modern law firms need to be more flexible and attuned to clients’ requirements, particularly by:

  • Providing Specialist Services-competent is not good enough!
  • Being accessible and responsive to clients’ specific needs
  • Providing personalised, commercially practical legal advice and agreements
  • Offering flexible consultation arrangements (including at clients’ premises or another mutually convenient venue)
  • Providing realistic turnaround times for work, and
  • Offering agreed fees, where appropriate.

Harvey is happy to work with any business, provided they have the vision and drive to make their business a success, and understand the value of a trusted advisor like Harvey assisting them with the journey.

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