Illustrated plainly: which IP right is best for me?

An illustrated guide to help you on what IP right is best for you.

Video  \  27 Sep 2017

Say you’ve got a new idea or initiative that is worth protecting. There are many legal ways to protect it, but what is the best intellectual property right for you?

You’ve probably heard of patents and trade marks, and perhaps you know about trade secrets and copyright too, which one should you choose?

Let’s back up a bit, if it’s a new brand, you need to consider trade mark protection. Boom. Job done.

If it’s a product or process, it’s more complicated. First you need to ask, is it new? No. Then there may be little that can be protected other than the trade mark you use. If it is a new product or process, then ask yourself ‘Can it be kept secret forever?’, you know, like a secret recipe or chemical formulation. If so, then you’ve got a trade secret and you need to ensure you can keep it that way. If your secret can’t stay secret, or is not supposed to, then you’ve got three options:

  1. First is a registered design. This protects the form of things, the product shape such as a new lampshade.
  2. Next is copyright, this can protect original works like a book or a film, engineering drawings, posters, pictures, music and more.
  3. The third option is a patent, it can apply to a process like harvesting honey in a new way or a product such as the Air New Zealand Skycouch and protects the function or concept of your idea.

The next thing that you must do is keep your new idea secret until you’ve seen an IP professional, especially for getting patents and registered designs.

Here at AJ Park we love new ideas, but what we especially love is seeing ideas turned into valuable IP. To find what IP right is best for you, give us a call.

If you need plain English advice on IP protection, get in touch with one of our experts.