Intellectual Property

Patent protection

Is patent protection an issue for you?

If you have developed a new product or process which is important to the profitability of your business, then you should consider patenting this invention. The requirements for the validation and registration of patents are very strict, and hence if you are considering obtaining a patent you should obtain advice from a registered patent attorney. We can assist you with such a referral.

A patent will provide you with the exclusive right to commercially exploit your invention. Using or disclosing your invention before it is patented may, depending upon the circumstances, prevent you from being able to obtain a patent.

If you decide against obtaining a patent, you may wish to protect your invention by keeping it a trade secret or by utilising the protection inherent in registered designs or copyright.

It is also important to be vigorous in protecting your patent.  You should have a strategy in place to deal with infringement of your patent.  It is important that you take action against the infringer, either by letter of demand or by issuing proceedings, without delay after becoming aware of the infringement.  Delaying action both sends a message to the infringer that you are not serious about protecting your rights and may also jeopardise your chances of obtaining an injunction to prevent further infringements.

Patent protection

Trademarks, trade names and service marks

Do you have trademarks, trade names and service marks protecting your identifying logos etc?

Registration of your trademarks will provide valuable protection for those marks for all of Australia and also provides a basis for applying for trademark protection internationally.

Registration of the business names, logos and product names associated with your business can make it considerably easier to prevent competitors from using the same or similar names for their business and products. Whilst action can sometimes be taken to protect names and logos without trademark registration, registration will generally make proceedings to prevent others from using these names and logos quicker, cheaper and more likely to succeed.

The ability to place a registered trademark symbol next to your names and logos also can have the effect of discouraging others from copying or making use of the same.

It is important to protect your trademark by taking action against anyone who infringes it. You should not delay in taking action against a party whom you consider to be infringing your trademark as delay sends a message to the infringer that you are not serious about protecting your trademark and is also a factor reducing your chance of obtaining an injunction from the court to prevent further infringements.


Confidentiality agreements

Do you have confidentiality agreements with employees and other parties in close contact with your commercially sensitive information?

The law prevents an employee or a confidante from disclosing your business’s confidential information. Despite this, it is still important for businesses to have their employees, key suppliers, and anyone else with access to their commercially sensitive confidential information, sign a confidentiality agreement.

The most important additional protection provided by a signed confidentiality agreement is that such an agreement, properly drawn, will define (with a degree of certainty which would otherwise be difficult to establish) exactly what information is confidential.

When a company brings an action against an ex-employee or other party to prevent or penalise the misuse of confidential information, one of the first hurdles at which many companies fall is proving that the information disclosed was truly confidential. Including the relevant information in the schedule of a confidentiality agreement will make this job much easier.

Confidentiality agreements also have an important educative role. They reinforce to employees and other confidantes the seriousness with which the business treats its confidential information. They also inform parties of exactly which information is considered confidential, which helps to prevent inadvertent disclosure of the same. 

Confidentiality agreement

Intellectual property licences, assignments and agreements

Do you have appropriate licence, assignment or other agreements in place with respect to the intellectual property supplied to you or by you?

If you are making use of another party’s intellectual property, then it is important that you have the appropriate licence or assignment agreement in place. In the absence of an agreement setting out your rights and responsibilities, you may infringe the terms under which you make use of that intellectual property. Such infringement may leave you open to a large award of damages or even result in you having to pay to the injured party all of the profits which you have made from the use of the intellectual property.

If you are allowing another party to use your business’s intellectual property, then it is equally important to have the terms of such use expressed in a licence or assignment document. Failure to document such agreements increases the chance of dispute as to the terms and will increase the cost of enforcing the agreement should a dispute arise. Failure to properly document licenses and assignments can also have a detrimental effect on the ability of the parties to enforce their intellectual property rights against a third party.

Intellectual property, IP

Business names, requirements and limitations

If you trade under a business name, do you know the requirements and limitations of registration of that business name?

If you trade under a business name then, unless that name is identical to the name of the person or company operating under that name, then you will need to register the business name.

If you have registered your business name, it is important to note that the only right conferred by such registration is to prevent another party from registering an identical business name. There is nothing to stop a party from registering a similar name unless they are engaged in the tort of ‘passing off’, that is an attempt to pretend that they are you so as to steal away business you would ordinarily expect to get.

Business name

Our Business and Commercial Lawyers

Michael Perkins Principal Lawyer

Michael Perkins

Lawyer, author, educator

Michael Perkins, Co-Founder and Principal Lawyer Dip Law SAB, TEP, MICW has over 30 years’ experience of in resolving complexities for clients managing their family and business interests. While many professionals manage and deliver transactions for clients, Michael provides additional support with resolving broader complexity and conflict in the lives of his clients, where possible without resorting to litigation or other dispute resolution processes. He helps clients deal with the practical, strategic and operational needs of their businesses, conservation of their assets, activating community and philanthropic interests and planning for succession to their estate over time. Michael applies a multidisciplinary approach in dealing with the challenges of achieving growth, asset protection, estate governance and succession. Methodologies finessed with experience are applied, paving a way forward for globalising businesses as well as families making plans to manage their wealth for the benefit of subsequent generations.
Jeremy Duffy Autonomy First

Jeremy Duffy

Principal Lawyer

Jeremy Duffy is a contracted Principal Solicitor based in South Australia. Jeremy has over 38 years of experience including as a partner in two Adelaide law firms. His background includes numerous litigation matters in both State and Federal jurisdictions and non-litigious advisory and transactional work in trusts, estate planning, property law and commercial transactions. Jeremy’s clients over the years have included corporates, banks, property developers and managers, financial advisors, representative bodies and private clients. Leveraging his extensive and varied skill set, he adeptly handles a broad spectrum of legal matters for a diverse clientele. Jeremy has a strong interest in developing technology to help deliver legal services more efficiently.

Amber Geake Autonomy First Lawyes

Amber Geake

Associate Lawyer

Amber Geake, Associate Lawyer at Autonomy First Lawyers, has been working in the legal sector since 2016 and was admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2020. A passionate advocate, Amber’s focus is on all matters dealing with estates, including succession planning, estate administration and estate litigation. She has substantial experience in contested estate litigation (family provision, contested probate, testamentary capacity and validity, protected persons and general equity matters) in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Her background also includes assisting clients within the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Amber is currently undertaking her Master of Applied Law (Wills and Estates) at the College of Law.

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