Attending the third event in the AGDA’s Design Means Business event was really enjoyable. It featured four speakers covering the topics of  developing client relationships, protecting intellectual property, Strategy for designers and Using LinkedIn to promote your business.

I found the topic of protecting your IP particularly interesting as so many people are misguided on this topic. It’s important when developing a brand, business identity or even a new product that you protect every aspect.

Protecting your brand / business

The best way to do this is to seek out an IP Lawyer who can help protect every aspect of your business by assisting in registering a trademark, writing contracts, and checking that your artwork does not infringe on anything else already in the market.

You cannot legally copy a part of someone else’s work without it being an infringement. 

The most interesting part of this talk was dispelling some myths. Many people think that there is a percentage or number associated with how much you can legally copy without it being an infringement. This is incorrect, there is no number or percentage you can legally copy.

The copyright symbol
In Australia there is no governing body that you have to register your copyright with. You do not have to display the copyright symbol for copyright to take effect.  Copyright protection is automatic from the moment your work put into  a material form. Read more Here (Aus Copyright Council)

The symbol does however help make others aware that you take copyright seriously, and it helps make others aware.

The Australian Copyright Council has a number of resources to assist with understanding how copyright works. Click Here.

Registering a domain name does not prevent someone else using that name.
Registering a domain name only reserves the actual domain name registered, it does not mean that others can’t use the name you have registered as a business name etc or register the same domain name with an alternative extension, i.e if I register horse.com  you can just as easily register horse.net.

Business Names
Even registering a business name does not give you exclusive rights to that name, and even if you register a particular name, there is a possibility it can still infringe on a registered trademark. So it’s important that when you set up a business to trademark the business name, brand and logo to protect your identity.