Frequently Asked Questions – IP


What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the intangible property rights that exist in human knowledge or ideas. IP comprises valuable strategic and financial assets for every organisation. There are various forms of IP, the most common of which include:

  • Patents
  • Trade marks
  • Designs
  • Plant Breeder’s Rights
  • Circuit Layouts
  • Copyright; and
  • Confidential Information

Why protect my Intellectual Property?

Protecting your intellectual property prevents others from taking advantage of your hard work. A registered trade mark or design ensures that you can protect the reputation of your organisation, and prevents others from imitating you – profiting from your good customer relationships. A patent stops your competitors from copying your new ideas, and gives you the sole right to produce, sell or import your invention.

In the modern economy, commercial competition in all sectors, from academia to FMCG, is intense. Building a trusted brand, and bringing new ideas to the market are the best ways to maintain a competitive edge. Protecting your intellectual property is critical to making the most of your hard work.

What type of protection do I need?

If your organisation has a distinctive logo, symbol or name, which your customers or shareholders know and which is valuable to you, you may need to register a trade mark.

If you or your organisation has invented a device, substance, method or process which is new and useful, you may need to file a patent.

If you plan to produce an object with a distinctive and unique appearance, you may need to file an application for a registered design.

What do I need to do about my Intellectual Property protection?

The Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys at Spruson & Ferguson will be able, in close consultation with you, to take care of all aspects of your intellectual property protection. All of our attorneys are experts in the technologies and industry sectors that they work with, and use this expertise to understand your business fully.

How long will protecting my IP take?

In most cases our attorneys can file an initial patent or trade mark application to protect your intellectual property within a few weeks of our initial consultation. Once this first application is filed you can deploy your new idea with confidence and allow our attorneys to guide you through the rest of the process.

What will it cost to protect my IP?

The cost varies considerably depending on what type of intellectual property you hold and in which countries you want to protect it. However, our attorneys are trained in creating cost-effective strategies for protecting your IP and will ensure that our pricing is fully transparent.