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Intellectual property and


There are a number of different types of intellectual property

dealt with by the Australian Government.
We deal with copyright. You can find general information on
the copyright information page.
We are also the lead agency for whole-of-government issues
on the management of intellectual property.
You can find out more about the ways we are working to refine
and update the law in these areas on the current issues,
reforms and reviews page.
If you are interested in using Commonwealth copyright
material, visit the licensing and use of Commonwealth
copyright material page.
For information on other intellectual property issues such as
inventions and patents, trade marks, plant breeders rights,
and original designs, visit the IP Australia website.


Intellectual Property

What is intellectual property or IP?

Types of intellectual property
IP Australia
Strategies to protect your IP
Can I take legal action if someone 'steals' my IP?

What is intellectual property or IP?

Intellectual Property (IP) represents the property of your mind or

intellect. If you develop a new product, service, process or idea it
belongs to you and is therefore your intellectual property. If you want to
ensure exclusive legal ownership, you must formally register your IP.
IP can be a valuable business asset so it's important that you

understand and know how to protect it.

Types of IP protection

There are seven types of IP protection available for your idea:



For new or improved products or processes;
Trade marks
For letters, words, phrases, sounds, smells, shapes, logos, pictures,
aspects of packaging or a combination of these, to distinguish the goods and
services of one trader from those of another;
For the shape or appearance of manufactured goods;

 Registered Designs


A registered design protects the visual appearance of

manufactured products. The appearance can be defined in terms
of shape and configuration, or pattern and ornamentation, or both.
It is distinct from a patent in that it provides a monopoly to exploit
the appearance of the article whereas a patent provides
protection for the manner in which the article actually operates. To
put it simply registered designs relate to form whilst patents relate
to function.
If you can demonstrate that your design is new and distinctive it is
eligible for registration.
Registered designs are administered by IP Australia

For original material in literary, artistic, dramatic or musical works, films,
broadcasts, multimedia and computer programs;


Copyright rewards creative endeavours by providing automatic rights for

literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works including plans, advertising
layouts, brochures, manuals, working drawings, photographs, paintings,
films, broadcasts and computer programs. It protects the expression or
form that ideas take and not the ideas themselves.
There is no system of registration for copyright protection in Australia.
A work is protected automatically from the time it is first recorded in
some way, provided it has resulted from its creator's skill and effort and


is not simply copied from another work. For example, as soon as a

poem is written, or a song is recorded, it is protected.
For more information on copyright, including the new rights of attribution
of authorship and integrity of authorship, visit the Australian Copyright
Council website.
Circuit layout rights
For the three-dimensional configuration of electronic circuits in
integrated circuit products or layout designs;
Plant breeder's rights
For new plant varieties;
Confidentiality/trade secrets
Including know-how and other confidential or proprietary information.

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IP Australia

You can register your patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeders
rights with IP Australia.
It's also important to note that registering your IP rights provides
coverage in Australia only. You must apply for international protection
separately, and in each country where you want your intellectual
property to be protected.
Learn about intellectual property and how it applies to you and your
business on the IP Australia website
IP Australia eServices
eServices is a secure, reliable and convenient way to access a range of
IP Australia's transactions and services. With eServices you are able to
view your history; apply, renew or amend your application; save or
resume a current eService and make payments.
Other options to apply and pay
If you do not use eServices, the IP Australia website forms page
provides downloadable PDFs of all their forms (in alphabetical order).
You can also submit your applications by:

Fax to +61 2 6283 7999

Post to PO Box 200 WODEN ACT 2606
Lodging at an IP Lodgement Point

TIP: If you want exclusive rights / ownership over a particular name you
will need to trademark it. The process of registering a business,

company or domain name does not give your proprietary rights to the
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Strategies to protect your intellectual property

Once you have identified your intellectual property you should develop
strategies to protect your rights. Failing to do so could put your business
at risk.
In addition to registering your IP there are some general protective
measures you should take to safeguard your idea before it is registered.
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Can I take legal action if someone steals' my IP?

Legal action can be taken under common law for infringement of trade
secrets, passing off, breaching confidentiality agreements and infringing
the rights of owners of both registered and non registered IP.
Enforcement of IP rights is the responsibility of the owner of the IP.
Legal advice on whether or not to pursue infringement of rights should
be weighed against the likelihood of the success taking legal actions
and the costs involved.
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For more information talk to:


IP Australia
Australian Copyright Council
The Arts Law Centre of Australia