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Four-step guide to intellectual property management

27 April 2022

3 min read

#Intellectual Property

Published by:

Liam Nieuwland

Four-step guide to intellectual property management

Intellectual property (IP) rights can accrue significant value for companies when managed properly. For example, well-known trade marks such as Apple and Amazon, as a type of intellectual property, are currently valued at over US$350 billion.

In order to realise this value, companies must work to actively identify, register and enforce their IP rights – a failure to do so may result in missed financial opportunities (as demonstrated in the events arising out of the registration and protection of the UGG trade mark in Australia and internationally).

In this article, we provide a step-by-step overview on how to identify, protect, and manage IP rights.

Step one: Understanding the basics of IP rights

Very broadly, IP means the legal rights which result from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. The main categories of IP are set out in the table below. 

Understanding the basics of IP rights

Step two: Identify your IP rights

Now that you are across the basics of IP rights, it is important to identify what IP assets exist in your business. Consider conducting an audit across your business of IP assets that:

  • have been developed internally;
  • have been acquired (whether as a broader corporate transaction or as a one-off purchase of IP from a third party – such as a logo designer); 
  • are used by the business under a licence arrangement.

Assess what type of IP rights exist in those various IP assets and consider creating an internal register or schedule which that sets out all of the IP assets identified and the status of the IP rights subsisting in those assets. This register will be helpful when it comes to managing your IP rights (see step four below).

Step three: Protect your IP rights

Once you have identified your IP rights, it is time to assess what kind of protection those rights can be afforded. Below, we have listed some examples of IP assets and how they can be protected.

Protect your IP rights

Step four: Manage IP rights

Once you have identified and protected your business’ IP rights, you should ensure that appropriate processes are in place to manage them successfully. Key points to consider when managing IP rights include the following:

  • for registered rights, keep a record of registration, and monitor renewal dates and when fees are due to be paid;
  • for IP that is developed internally, ensure that your employment and contractor agreements contain sufficient IP assignment clauses and associated provisions (including waivers of moral rights for any copyright);
  • for IP that is developed externally by a third party, ensure that a deed of assignment is prepared and executed between the third party and your company;
  • for IP that is owned by third parties and used by the company, keep a record of licence arrangements, including relevant expiry dates, to ensure that your business is not inadvertently infringing on any third party IP rights.

If you have any questions in relation about the above, or would like to further discuss the protection and management of your company’s IP further, please contact us or send us your enquiry here.

The information in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

Published by:

Liam Nieuwland

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