Intellectual Property Summary

Date: December 15, 2020
Author: Rhys Munzel
Posted in: Insights

In this briefing, we provide an overarching summary of the key types of intellectual property being:

  1. Confidential Information
  2. Patents
  3. Copyright
  4. Trade marks – unregistered and registered
  5. Registered designs
  6. Plant Variety Rights

1. Confidential Information

Example: Secret information about how a mouse trap works

Protection: Requires strict secrecy

Duration: Protected until publicly disclosed, including if independently developed and disclosed

Australian Legislation / International Treaties:

  • Not covered by legislation or international treaty
  • Common law – breach of confidentiality, trade secrets,

 

2. Patents

Example: Invention of a new mouse trap

Protection:

  • Requires registration, only protects inventions which are new and not disclosed (keep secret)
  • Invention must be kept strictly confidential until patent is filed
  • Patent must be granted in every country in which you want protection

Duration:

  • Standard patent up to 20 years (renewal fees)
  • Australian innovation patent is a relatively fast, inexpensive protection option, lasting a maximum of 8 years (but note innovation patents are being phased out shortly)

Australian Legislation / International Treaties:

  • Patents Act 1990 (Cth)
  • Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) (1970)
  • Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purpose of Patent Procedure (1977)
  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883)

 

3. Copyright

Example: A drawing or written description of a new mouse trap

Protection: Automatic protection on original creation (not copied), only protects the expression of an idea (not the idea itself)

Duration:

  • Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works generally 70 years from the year of the author’s death
  • Films and sound recordings last 70 years from their publication and for broadcasts, 70 years from the year in which they were made

Australian Legislation / International Treaties

  • Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)
  • Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886)
    • WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT)
  • Universal Copyright Convention (1952)

 

4. Trade Marks – registered

Example: Branding such as the FAL TRAPSTM for a mouse trap

Protection:

  • Unregistered trade mark rights develop through trade use and establishing a reputation in trade
  • Better protection through registration
    • Filing through the Madrid System facilitates the registration of trade marks in multiple jurisdictions around the world

Duration: Initial registration 10 years and unlimited 10 year renewals for a fee

Australian Legislation / International Treaties:

  • Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Trademark Law Treaty (TLT) (1994)
  • Nice Agreement (1957)
    • Nice Classification
  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883)

 

5. Registered designs

Example: A stylish mouse trap involving design

Protection: Requires registration

Duration: 5 years initial protection, one 5 year renewal

Australian Legislation / International Treaties

  • Designs Act 2003 (Cth)
  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883)

 

6. Plant Variety Rights

Example: A hybrid Venus fly trap which eats mice

Protection: Requires registration

Duration: Lasts for up to 25 years for trees or vines and 20 years for other plant species

Australian Legislation / International Treaties

  • Plant Breeder’s Rights 1994 (Cth)
  • International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (1961) (UPOV Convention)
    • International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)
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