Intellectual property - your top questions answered

Intellectual property (IP) plays a crucial role in protecting your creations and giving you exclusive rights to profit from them. Here's some tips to help you get started.

Your questions answered

Here's the answers to our top customer questions to help you get started with your IP.

1. What IP do I need?

When it comes to protecting your creations, you may need to consider multiple types of IP. Understanding the different types of IP and how they might benefit your business is the first step. 

Here's what each of the IP rights protect:

  • Trade marks protect your brand. They can be used to protect a logo, phrase, word, letter, colour, sound, smell, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these 
  • Patents protect your inventions and how they work 
  • Design rights protect the overall appearance of a product 
  • Plant breeder’s rights (PBR) protect new plant varieties. 

If you’re not sure what type of IP right you need, our choosing the right IP tool can help point you in the right direction. 

2. How can I change my IP right application after it’s been submitted? 

Once you've submitted your application, simple changes such as contact details can be made via online services at any time. Other changes may require a new application. 
More information can be found on our website for amending trade mark and patent applications.

You can also contact us for more information or to explore possible solutions.

Contact us

3. What is the trade mark application process? 

Applying for a trade mark involves a few key steps. Firstly, you need to determine if you have a trade mark and conduct a thorough search to ensure its uniqueness.  
Our TM Checker tool:

  • Can save you time and effort when it comes to checking the availability of a trade mark before filing an application
  • Makes it easy to identify potential conflicts
  • Gives you an estimate of your application costs
  • Gives you an idea of the application process time.

An initial check only takes a few minutes and is free. If you decide to apply, it can cost as little as $330 and lasts an initial period of 10 years. 
First time applicants can apply through TM Checker or TM Headstart service. If you're already familiar with the process, you can apply using a standard application.
Once you’ve applied we'll:

  • Review your application
  • Keep you up to date with progress
  • Provide you with an outcome.

TM Checker

4. How do I check if my idea is new and can be protected? 

Researching the market before you apply is crucial to determine if your idea is new and can be protected. Start by understanding your competitors and consumers. Ensure that your ideas don't infringe on existing IP rights. 
If your idea covers multiple types of IP, such as trade marks and design rights, search across all relevant registers. 
To check if your IP is available in Australia, here's the search tools you can use: 

For international protection, you'll need to search the respective registers in relevant countries. By conducting a thorough search, you can save yourself time, money, and headaches in the long run.

5. How much does it cost to protect my IP?

The cost of protecting your IP can vary depending on the IP right.

For details on costs, check out the timeframes and fees for each IP right:

6. What do I do if I think someone is infringing on my IP?

If you suspect someone is infringing on your IP, it’s your responsibility to take action. Start by gathering evidence of the infringement, such as:

  • Photographs
  • Documents
  • Screen shots
  • Witness statements. 

Consider consulting with an IP lawyer to understand your rights and explore legal options. In some cases, sending a cease and desist letter may resolve the issue. If necessary, you can escalate the matter to court proceedings to protect your IP rights.

What to know more?

To learn more about IP rights, check out our resources
For an easy-to-understand overview of IP rights and best practices for managing and protecting these valuable assets, take a look at the IP basics guide and watch our webinar.