H & H IP provides a range of intellectual property law services including Trade Marks, Patents, Designs, Copyright, Domain Names and other IP issues.
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HOW WE CAN HELP YOU
- Do I really need to register a trade mark? What are the advantages?Trade MarksRegistration of a trade mark is not legally required but is highly recommended. It will give you the exclusive right to use the same or similar trade mark for the designated goods and/or services. In other words, you will have the rights to stop others (such as your competitors) using the same or similar mark. Further, a registered trade mark is an asset which means you can exploit it by selling, licensing etc.
- I already have a business name. Do I still need to register a trade mark?Trade MarksYes. A business or company name registration does not grant proprietary rights in that name to the business owner. In other words, you do not ‘own’ the name. Someone could obtain and use very similar business, company or domain name as yours and you cannot stop him/her using that name unless you establish the exclusive right in the name – this can be done through registration of the trade mark.
- What’s the difference between the TM symbol and ® symbol?Trade MarksThe ® symbol shows that the trade mark is registered while the TM symbol shows that the word/logo referred to functions as your trade mark, but is not necessarily registered. Note that use of the ® symbol on products in Australia may constitute an offence if the mark is not actually registered in Australia.
- What are the advantages of obtaining design registration?DesignsOnce examined and certified, a registered design gives the owner exclusive rights to commercially use it, licence or sell it. The rights include the prevention of copy products by people or companies. Further, it helps convey a positive image of a business showing the business’ creativity and increasing the market value of the products.
- When should I file a design application?DesignsTiming is very important. Taking into account the novelty and the distinctiveness requirements, it is crucial to file an application before publicly disclosing it, eg. posting the design on your website or blog, which will destroy its novelty/ distinctiveness. In Australia, a grace period of 6 months is available in very limited circumstances such as use of the design at an officially recognised international exhibition or unwanted disclosure by third parties.
- What’s the difference between designs and copyright?DesignsA design registration provides protection in the visual features of the shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation of the design, whereas copyright protects the original expression of ideas against copying of one’s work. Generally artistically works industrially applied and commercially exploited as 3D designs are denied copyright protection. A design may have been applied industrially if it has been applied to more than 50 articles, or to one or more non-handmade articles that have been manufactured in lengths or pieces.
- Can I still patent my invention if I have already published it?Public disclosure of an invention before filing a patent application may result in the patent being invalid. So it’s important to keep your invention secret or at least confidential before filing a patent application. However, it may still be possible to patent your invention in Australia if such public disclosure was made in certain circumstances within the grace period of 12 months before filing the application.
- Can I obtain a patent and keep my invention secret?Unfortunately, the answer is no. In most cases, a patent application is published after 18 months of the priority date. Patents are granted with limited exclusive rights, in exchange for a full disclosure of the invention to the general public. This enables competitors to search for alternative solutions and to invent around, which as a result, encourages the development of new technologies and enriches the well-being of society.
- What does ‘patent pending’ mean?Patent pending refers to an invention for which a patent application has been lodged but not yet granted. The term is mainly used to alert competitors and the public that the inventor is in process of obtaining protection of a patent.
- How do I get copyright?Copyright protection is automatic in Australia as the moment an idea or creative concept is documented, on paper or electronically, it is automatically protected by copyright. There is no official registry to record copyright protection.
- What is the © symbol?Use of the © symbol is not a legal requirement to gain copyright protection. However, it is recommended to place the © symbol on a work as a visible way to alert others that the work is protected by copyright and that all rights are reserved.
- Can I use copyright material for the purpose of research or study?There is a 10% rule relating to the fair dealing provision in relation to copying of copyright materials for the purposes of research or study without infringing the copyright. However, the test is qualitative rather than quantitative. Less than 10% of a work can be essential if that part distils the essence of the work.