The world of business and commerce is ultracompetitive. It takes a lot to make one organisation stand out from all of the rest in a crowded marketplace and that "special something" needs to be protected by the business owner at all costs. In legal terms, something that is unique to the organisation and gives it its earning power is known as intellectual property and there are ways to protect such an asset. What many people do not realise, however, is that an application for protection needs to be filed very carefully, or it could have unintended consequences. What should you bear in mind before you file?
Why You Need to Be Careful
When you file to protect intellectual property such as a trade or service mark, a patent or design then you have to go through certain procedures with the Australian government. There is a lot of paperwork to complete, but the first question you need to ask is simple – in whose name are you going to file? If done incorrectly, a challenge could be raised against the registration on the basis that the stated applicant does not have the proper claim of ownership, or that the stated applicant has a genuine desire to make use of the trademark, design or patent.
Who Are You?
Are you filing as an individual, as part of a joint partnership, or on behalf of a limited company? Business structures change and you need to think very carefully into the future. Depending on how you structure things now, you may not have a valid claim in the future id the owner status changes.
Specification and Classes
The description of your claim has to be set out very precisely and not defined far too narrowly. If it isn't worded quite carefully then an impartial judge could determine that it's not protectable according to the details provided. This is why you need to be very careful when choosing the exact specification for the application. There are also a very large range of different classes and errors are often made by those who choose to file by themselves without due research. If you file under an incorrect class, the entire application could be void.
Get It Done Right, the First Time
Due to the challenges of filing incorrectly and the risk involved it's always advisable to consult with a lawyer who has experience in filing intellectual property applications. It's much better to make the additional investment and ensure that this is done correctly right from the start.