Zenith Finance Blog

RBA Finance

Protecting your intellectual property

Brands can be worth literally billions of dollars. No wonder they spend a fortune protecting them do you need to protect your IP?
It used to the case that unless you owned a famous logo (such as the Nike logo) or a famous name such as Coca Cola, the term Intellectual Property (IP) would have little relevance to your business However, digital communications and the internet have made copyright a concern for every industry and every business.

End-user agreements in online media also mean that copyright affects consumers more than previously. Moreover, the availability of content – such as the news – for free online has changed people’s expectations. People want what they want, they want it for free and they want it now. They may infringe copyright without considering the creators’ ability to earn a living.

The digital medium has also made it far simpler to copy and reproduce content. People can make perfect copies and the scale of copyright infringement is greater.

Protecting your copyright

Copyright protects your written word and your unique images (photos; pictures) from being copied by others without permission. If you discover a copyright infringement you can send them a letter stating that you’ve seen they are using your copyrighted material; asking them to remove the item and let you know when it’s been done. Alternatively, you might want to come to a commercial licensing arrangement.

Now, many law firms are recommending their clients investigate copyright and getting the correct contract or license is critical if you are developing campaigns or projects. If you have a particular image or song in mind, find out how to acquire suitable copyright for its use early on in the process or have alternatives so the project doesn’t stall if you can’t secure the content you want.

You might also be concerned to protect your brand

A brand can be protected with a registered trademark, which will give the legal right to prevent others from using your brand name. This can be secured via an Australian trademark online at IP Australia.

Some designers for example, often think registering a business name automatically protects their brand. In fact, only a trademark will allow you to stop others from using your name. Trademarks can protect not only name but logos, images and packaging if they are distinctive and identifiable by consumers.

Thus protection can be gained by:

  • Lodging an application for trademark
  • Placing a copyright symbol under your content
  • Ensuring you have a clear IP statement on your website asserting copyright

If you have lost income because of a copyright infringement or the usage has brought your name or brand into disrepute, you may have grounds to take them to court. Here, if your reputation or your livelihood is at stake, it may be worth spending $1,000 to $2,000 to use a lawyer.