Intellectual property can be an essential business tool, however, not everybody thinks hard enough about protecting their big ideas. In 2001, plumber Brad McCarthy got stuck on a remote beach in Cape York in north Queensland and spent about 6 hours getting his car out with a hand winch. He knew there must be a better way. In response, he invented Maxtrax, a lightweight vehicle-recovery device for bogged off-roaders.
After designing the super-tough nylon product, he attended a Queensland Government business seminar, in which the advisers stressed getting patent protection before his idea was publicised. “One of the first things we did was talk to a patent attorney to find out the way we could protect the concept,” says McCarthy, who launched Maxtrax in 2005. It is actually now purchased in about 30 countries worldwide. McCarthy has patents in key markets including Australia, Europe and the US, and also the business even offers a trademark on the distinctive original “safety orange” hue it uses of its moulded product. Unlike McCarthy, however, many inventors and businesses with recommended cruel their likelihood of success from day one.
Their big mistake? Ignoring patents or other Check Over Here before they spruik their idea to investors, the public or even friends. It can be a costly error. Bradley Postma, principal at patent and trademark attorney firm Cullens, says small and medium enterprises (SMEs), specifically, often neglect safeguarding their IP or think it will probably be expensive. “The majority of protectable IP goes unprotected,” he says.
Europe can become a particular trap for exporters because, unlike a few other major markets, it lacks a grace period making it possible for public disclosure of your invention without affecting the validity of any subsequent patent application. That opens the way for an idea or product to become copied. “In Australia and the United States you can do something regarding it, provided you’re in a one-year window – in Europe you can’t, it’s too late,” Postma says. “In that case, businesses have shot themselves within the foot; they’ve forfeited their rights and anyone can copy [their idea].” Postma observes that company owners often think their idea is simply too simple to warrant a patent. “However, if it’s successful and simple, it will probably be copied and you need to get advice.”
Unitary patents on way – Margot Fröhlinger is principal director of unitary patent, European and international legal affairs in the MunUnitary patents on way – Margot Fröhlinger is principal director of unitary patent, Western and worldwide legal matters at the Munich-based Western Patent Office (EPO), which oversees about 160,000 patent programs a year. She recently finished a road trip caution Australian businesses that poor patent and Ip address safeguards could derail their European marketplace opportunities. Businesses must innovate – and protect their innovations. “You have to have the safety of your Ip address and, in particular, patent safety in order to get a great come back on your own purchase,” she says.
Numerous worldwide businesses have baulked at exporting to European countries because of complex patent procedures throughout multiple areas that can result in possibly high expenses and marginal protection. Nevertheless, the EPO is marketing a new unitary patent program that guarantees as a video game changer. This will make it easy to get protection in as much as 26 taking part Western Union member claims using the submission of the single request to the EPO.
A November 2017 EPO research, Patents, Industry and FDI in the European Union, indicates much better harmonisation of Europe’s patent system has got the possibility to increase trade and international direct purchase in high-tech sectors, providing yearly benefits of €14.6 billion dollars ($A22.8 billion dollars) in industry and €1.8 billion dollars (A$2.81 billion dollars) in international direct purchase.
Fröhlinger believes Australian businesses across all sectors have opportunities to expand to the European market, which boasts a lot more than 500 thousand people, high gross household product and robust customer need. “It’s extremely important for Aussie businesses to understand that there is a big change ahead in Europe. I am not talking only about patents,” Fröhlinger says. “It’s essential to get an integrated IP profile thinking about patents and trademarks and (addressing) style. If they don’t have (IP) folks-house they need to attempt to get tactical company advice.”
The international Innovation Index 2017 reports on countries’ IP receipts as a amount of total trade. In essence, the measure indicates the way a country is performing on the IP front. While Australia scores well in terms of inputs into research and development, the united states (5.1 per cent), Japan (4.7 percent) and Finland (2.9 percent) easily outperform Australia (.3 %) on IP royalties.
Your message? Being a general rule, Australian companies are certainly not good at converting research into value and treat IP nearly as an administrative function. The exceptions are Listen To This Podcast, including medical device company Cochlear and sleep-disorder business ResMed, which understand the value of intangible assets like logo and data use, and make their businesses around it.
In a knowledge-based economy, IP has turned into a crucial business tool and governing it has stopped being just dependent on organising trademarks and patents. Intangible assets are rapidly more and more important than tangible assets akiybu require appropriate consideration.
Overview of Australia’s top listed companies, released by Glasshouse Advisory in September 2017, endorses this type of sentiment. It reveals that 38 % in the companies’ value (regarding a$550 billion) is not included on their balance sheets; this means that that investors are operating without insights into a significant proportion in the corporate asset base.