Protect your assets

Are you starting up a business? If so you’ve most likely finalised your business and marketing plans and secured your finance, equipment and premises. But have you secured one of your most valuable assets — your Intellectual Property (IP)?

Whatever size business you are running, understanding IP is important in helping you protect your competitive advantage — what is unique about your product, service, design or invention.

IP includes patents, trademarks and design which help protect your invention, the distinguishing features of your services and the look of your product.

IP helps protect the output of your mind — your brain power, your ideas and creativity — an output that may have a commercial and dollar value that can help you grow your business even further. Protect your assets

‘Being IP savvy means being able to recognise IP as a valuable business asset, just as you would your computer and office space. Just like you protect your physical assets and property with alarms, locks and other security measures, you invest time and money into your creativity, so you should take the protection of your creative output just as seriously’.1

Of equal importance, though, being IP savvy may help you avoid the costly pitfalls and loss of income that can occur if you accidentally infringe someone else’s IP.

As an organisation that assists Indigenous Australians to establish, acquire and grow businesses, IBA actively participates in and supports initiatives that clarify, educate and protect Indigenous business interests. One such initiative is The Dream Shield project which aims to assist Indigenous Australians to understand, manage and protect the IP rights they may have created whilst establishing and running their business.

The Dream Shield project includes videos and publications offering information about various types of IP, as well as case studies and interviews with Indigenous entrepreneurs, designers and inventors who have taken steps to register and protect their IP.

As a collaboration between IP Australia, IBA, the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council, Neil Willmett Consultants and Deakin University, the project aims to assist Indigenous entrepreneurs to make an informed decision about what role IP might play in their business venture, and how they might act to secure their IP. The resources address some frequently asked questions and misconceptions about applying for IP and the costs involved in doing so.

If you or someone you know is planning to start a business, IBA encourages you to obtain a copy of the Dream Shield publication. You can download a copy from www.ipaustralia. gov.au/resources/dream_shield.shtml or phone IP Australia on 1300 65 1010 to order a copy.

Listen to former IBA client Alison Page speaking about the importance of IP to her design business at: www.ipaustralia.gov.au/resources/dream_shield_vid4.shtml

Indigenous designer and Dream Shield spokesperson Alison Page recording a video for IP Australia at IBA’s Sydney office.

Indigenous designer and Dream Shield spokesperson Alison Page recording a video for IP Australia at IBA’s Sydney office.

1 IP Australia, Design Victoria and the Australian Graphic Design Association, 2008, Protect Your Creative: A guide to Intellectual Property for Australia’s Graphic Designers, Melbourne.