Frequently Asked Questions
Here is our general FAQ page – we hope you find it helpful. Any questions? Please get in touch.
IP made simple
Patents protect the function of technical inventions, designs protect the visual appearance of products and trade marks protect branding such as words, logos, and sometimes colours and shapes.
If you are able to protect the technical function of an invention then a patent is a better choice. However, if a patent may not be achievable or the new part of your invention relates to or can be captured by its appearance – then a design is a good choice. Sometimes we file both a patent and a design, so that you have both aspects of protection.
Every Australian business is required to have a company or business name registered with ASIC. You are not required to have a trade mark. However, it is a very good idea to trade mark your company or business name so that another company or business cannot trade with branding too similar to you. Further, it is important to check the trade mark database before trading with a business or company name as you may infringe someones trade mark rights if your branding is too similar. This may occur even if your company or business name has been approved by ASIC as trade mark rights and names approved by ASIC are not cross-referred.
A patent is not a license to freely make, hire, sell, market or otherwise commercially use your invention. A patent (once granted) allows you to stop others infringing your patent. But, it is possible your patented invention may still infringe the rights of another third parties earlier patent – which is why it is important to file patents early and often. Patents may be thought of as a sword (you can stop others) but not a shield (to stop others attacking you).
The short answer is yes, you can disclose your invention after your patent is filed. However, in some cases you may still wish to keep your invention confidential, especially if it is under the early stages of development and commercialisation. Patents do not provide freedom to operate – so it is always importnat to also check you are free to use your invention prior to diclopsuing to avoid patent and/or design infringement.
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