Ownership of IP

Intellectual Property (IP) rights establish ownership and exclusive control of your innovation. Registered IP rights such as patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder's rights are not granted automatically. You need to apply with IP Australia and meet specific criteria under the relevant legislation.

Monitor and defend your rights

Once you own IP, you are responsible for monitoring the market to ensure you are not being infringed. If you are the victim of infringement, it is up to you to take the appropriate steps. An IP lawyer or attorney can assist you with enforcing your rights. IP Australia is not in charge of monitoring IP infringement - this is your responsibility.

You need to safeguard your IP by letting others know you own your innovation. That is why many products contain the ® symbol - to let everyone know the trade mark is registered. Copyright owners do a similar thing by using the © symbol with their work, while many new products will have patent pending or the patent number displayed.

Unfortunately, in some instances legal action may be necessary. However, your chance of success is greatly improved with robust, registered IP.


Don't wait for someone to infringe your IP. As the owner of IP rights, you have a range of options and actions you can take to prevent infringement.

Putting a strategy in place to deal with infringement before it happens should be part of your overall protection and commercialisation strategy.

If you find your IP is being used without your permission, there are a number of steps you can take. Your options include (but are not limited to):

  • a letter of warning from your attorney
  • a licensing arrangement or out-of-court settlement 
  •  court action.

It is always best to seek professional advice. Whatever action you do take, pursue it vigorously and make sure any person infringing on your rights knows you are serious about protecting your IP. Any delay could jeopardise your legal rights to take action.

Registration of a security interest over an IP right

A party may take an interest such as a mortgage over an IP right as security for a loan or other obligation. As of 30 January 2012, our registers are no longer legal security registers. All security interests registered against IP rights need to be recorded by the secured party on the national online Personal Property Securities Register to be valid.

Last Updated: 23/1/2015

Meet Marcus
Certificate 3 in Horticulture

Patent Administration Officer
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