What is Intellectual property (IP) ?

Copyright_symbolInnovation, invention and creative solutions are driving forces behind some of the new bred of NZ businesses and small businesses.  Developing and managing your IP allows a business to align and focus its activities and enhance its competitiveness. IP protection is the foundation of creating a corporate identity through a branding strategy, negotiating licensing, franchising, and obtaining access to new markets. So how can these entrepreneurs and companies derive the most value from their ideas. The first step can often be to get good legal advice about intellectual property and the commercial structures you will create to develop and expand your ideas. Queen City Law have a team of business savvy lawyers who can help guide you through what can be a quite confusing area of NZ Law.

Queen City Law’s Commercial Lawyers provide expert legal advice and solutions to a very diverse range of New Zealand businesses. At all times we try and put ourselves in our clients shoes and provide cost effective and pragmatic solutions. Queen City Law advise on all the legal issues encountered in day to day business activities and work in partnership with our clients as specialist business advisors. Read more about our commercial services here. To contact us click here.

Intellectual property (IP) is an umbrella term used for human innovations and creativity that are capable of being protected under national law and international treaties. IP includes a diverse range of commercial assets from patents for new inventions through to copyright protected artworks. You can use the New Zealand governments website general Guide to assist you in capturing your IP assets. More information on IP can be found on the IPONZ site links listed below.

1. Automatic (copyright) protection
In New Zealand copyright protection automatically exists from the date of creation to written texts (such as books, poems and plays) music, films, software, artistic works (drawing paintings, sculptures, and architectural designs.) There is no formal registration requirement in New Zealand, but it is always worth making others aware of your rights where possible through a copyright notice followed by the creation date, for example: ‘Copyright John Hopata, May 2008.

2. Protection that requires your action
The IPONZ website gives you information about how to register and protect your IP under these categories:
Patents
Trade marks
Designs
Plant Variety Rights

It is always worthwhile considering the commercial or industrial potential of your intellectual property—even though the potential may not be immediately obvious. Over time your branding can become a business asset that may substantially increase the value of your business. Also, if you need to secure investment funding at any stage, investors will be interested in the steps you have taken to secure your intellectual property, as protection can make your business more valuable by creating barriers to competition that enhance the sustainability of your business. In addition to the IPONZ website, the Companies Office website  www.companies.govt.nz allows you to search for registered company names and director details.

In New Zealand, copyright for original material is automatic; there are no fees to pay or forms to fill in. Copyright works can be marked with the internationally recognised copyright indicator: the © symbol followed by the copyright owner’s name and year it was first created. Both registered and unregistered trade marks are protected in New Zealand. The ™ symbol shows that a trader is using a sign as a trade mark. When a trade mark is registered, the ® symbol may be legally used against the trade mark. Each country has its own set of IP laws.  If you would like to learn more about overseas IP protection, please visit  World Intellectual Property Organization website.

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