What is IP?

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property (IP) can be an invention, a brand, or an original work of art and IP rights like Patents, Trade Marks and Design Rights offer exclusive legal ownership over these assets. They can be bought, sold or licensed.

Some IP doesn’t require registration. You don’t need to register your copyright interests – copyright is granted from the time an original work is created. You can find out more from the Australian Copyright Council . Other protection comes in the form of legal documents or agreements such confidentiality agreements to maintain your business’ trade secrets. Visit the IP Australia website to learn more about the different types of protection.

Different types of registrable IP


One of the main ways to protect an invention is with a patent. A patent is a right granted for any device, substance, method or process that is new, inventive and useful. IP Australia examines patent applications which aim to protect inventions in Australia. Examples of registered patents are the KeepCup, the Cochlear ear implant and the Cricket Cooler.

Trade marks

A trade mark is the identity of your business. It is used to distinguish the goods and services of one trader from those of another and can be a number, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, aspects of packaging or a combination of these. Examples of registered well known trade marks are Vino Mofo, the Coffee Club and Boost Juice.


Registered designs protect the form and visual appearance of a product such as a shape, pattern or configuration. This is different to a patent which protects the mechanics of how a product works. Examples of registered designs are the Albion cricket helmet, the portable cooler, and the shape of the Holden Monaro.

Plant breeder’s rights

Plant breeders can take advantage of the protection offered by Australia’s plant breeder’s rights legislation. Known as PBRs, plant breeder’s rights give you exclusive rights to commercially use and sell your new plant variety. PBRs are used to protect new varieties of plants that are distinct, uniform and stable. Examples of PBR protected species are the Pink Iceberg Rose and Drysdale wheat.


Have any more questions about IP ? Visit the IP Australia website to learn more about the different types of protection.

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