Choosing the right IP

A tool to help you identify what type of IP protection you may need. Let the tool decide for you in two easy steps.

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  • Registering at business.gov.au

    Business names or company names aren't types of IP. You can register your business name at business.gov.au

    Register at business.gov.au

    Trade marking your business name

    Business name registration doesn't stop others from using the same business name. If you'd like to do this, you should consider registering your business name as a trade mark.

    Learn about trade marks

    Registering at business.gov.au

    Business names or company names are not types of IP. You can register your company name at business.gov.au.

    If you wish to trade using a name other than your registered company name, you should consider registering that trading name as a business name. You can also do this at business.gov.au

    Register at business.gov.au

    Trade marking your company name

    Company name registration doesn't stop others from using the same company name. If you'd like to do this, you should consider registering your company name as a trade mark.

    Learn about trade marks

    Trade marks

    Trade marks

    A trade mark legally protects your brand, and helps customers distinguish your goods and services from competitors.

    You can use a trademark for a logo, word, phrase, letter, number, sound, scent, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these. There are some things that can't be protected with a trade mark.

    Examples of trade marks
    Nike swoosh logo
    Cadbury purple
    Shape of a Coca-Cola bottle
    Learn about trade marks
    Trade marks

    Trade marks

    A trade mark legally protects your brand, and helps customers distinguish your goods and services from competitors.

    You can use a trademark for a logo, word, phrase, letter, number, sound, scent, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these. There are some things that can't be protected with a trade mark.

    Examples of trade marks
    Nike swoosh logo
    Cadbury purple
    Shape of a Coca-Cola bottle
    Learn about trade marks
    Licensing a domain name

    A domain name isn't a form of IP, so having a trade mark application or registration doesn't automatically entitle you to the domain name license.

    Licensing of domain names is carried out by companies on behalf of .au Domain Administration (auDA) on a first in, first served basis.

    auDA only administers the .au country code - it doesn't extend to other countries, nor generic top-level domains such as .com or .org regulated by other bodies.

    In certain circumstances you can register a domain name as a trade mark if it meets the requirements of the Trade Mark Act 1995. The rules and policies for registration of domain names in com.au may be viewed at auDA.

    Visit auDA
    Trade marks

    Trade marks

    A trade mark legally protects your brand, and helps customers distinguish your goods and services from competitors.

    You can use a trademark for a logo, word, phrase, letter, number, sound, scent, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these. There are some things that can't be protected with a trade mark.

    Examples of trade marks
    Nike swoosh logo
    Cadbury purple
    Shape of a Coca-Cola bottle
    Learn about trade marks
    Copyright

    Copyright protection is free and automatic. It protects your original expression of an idea as soon as you document it.

    Copyright protects art, non-commercial design, music, literature or film. For example, the Game of Thrones TV series is protected by copyright.

    The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication manages copyright in Australia.

    Learn about copyright
    Other considerations
    Trade marks

    Trade marks

    A trade mark legally protects your brand, and helps customers distinguish your goods and services from competitors.

    You can use a trademark for a logo, word, phrase, letter, number, sound, scent, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these. There are some things that can't be protected with a trade mark.

    Examples of trade marks
    Nike swoosh logo
    Cadbury purple
    Shape of a Coca-Cola bottle
    Learn about trade marks
    Trade marks

    Trade marks

    A trade mark legally protects your brand, and helps customers distinguish your goods and services from competitors.

    You can use a trademark for a logo, word, phrase, letter, number, sound, scent, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these. There are some things that can't be protected with a trade mark.

    Examples of trade marks
    Nike swoosh logo
    Cadbury purple
    Shape of a Coca-Cola bottle
    Learn about trade marks
    Other considerations
    Copyright

    Copyright protection is free and automatic. It protects your original expression of an idea as soon as you document it.

    Copyright protects art, non-commercial design, music, literature or film. For example, the Game of Thrones TV series is protected by copyright.

    The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication manages copyright in Australia.

    Learn about copyright
    Patents

    Patents

    A patent legally protects your invention or how something works. You can use a patent for new technology, devices, substances or processes.

    Examples of patents
    Google Maps
    Cochlear implant (bionic ear)
    Polymer (plastic) bank notes
    Learn about patents
    Trade marks

    Trade marks

    A trade mark legally protects your brand, and helps customers distinguish your goods and services from competitors.

    You can use a trademark for a logo, word, phrase, letter, number, sound, scent, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these. There are some things that can't be protected with a trade mark.

    Examples of trade marks
    Nike swoosh logo
    Cadbury purple
    Shape of a Coca-Cola bottle
    Learn about trade marks
    Design

    Design rights

    A design right legally protects the overall appearance of your new and distinctive product. The appearance may be a combination of shape, colour, configuration pattern and ornamentation.

    You can use a design right for the look of a whole, physical product if you're producing it on a commercial scale.

    Examples of design rights
    Zimmerman dress
    Audi car model
    King Furniture sofa
    Learn about design rights
    Other considerations
    Copyright

    Copyright protection is free and automatic. It protects your original expression of an idea as soon as you document it.

    Copyright protects art, non-commercial design, music, literature or film. For example, the Game of Thrones TV series is protected by copyright.

    The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication manages copyright in Australia.

    Learn about copyright
    Patents

    Patents

    A patent legally protects your invention or how something works. You can use a patent for new technology, devices, substances or processes.

    Examples of patents
    Google Maps
    Cochlear implant (bionic ear)
    Polymer (plastic) bank notes
    Learn about patents
    Patents

    Patents

    A patent legally protects your invention or how something works. You can use a patent for new technology, devices, substances or processes.

    Examples of patents
    Google Maps
    Cochlear implant (bionic ear)
    Polymer (plastic) bank notes
    Learn about patents
    Design

    Design rights

    A design right legally protects the overall appearance of your new and distinctive product. The appearance may be a combination of shape, colour, configuration pattern and ornamentation.

    You can use a design right for the look of a whole, physical product if you're producing it on a commercial scale.

    Examples of design rights
    Zimmerman dress
    Audi car model
    King Furniture sofa
    Learn about design rights
    Other considerations
    Copyright

    Copyright protection is free and automatic. It protects your original expression of an idea as soon as you document it.

    Copyright protects art, non-commercial design, music, literature or film. For example, the Game of Thrones TV series is protected by copyright.

    The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication manages copyright in Australia.

    Learn about copyright
    Patents

    Patents

    A patent legally protects your invention or how something works. You can use a patent for new technology, devices, substances or processes.

    Examples of patents
    Google Maps
    Cochlear implant (bionic ear)
    Polymer (plastic) bank notes
    Learn about patents
    Copyright

    Copyright protection is free and automatic. It protects your original expression of an idea as soon as you document it.

    Copyright protects art, non-commercial design, music, literature or film. For example, the Game of Thrones TV series is protected by copyright.

    The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication manages copyright in Australia.

    Learn about copyright
    Design

    Design rights

    A design right legally protects the overall appearance of your new and distinctive product. The appearance may be a combination of shape, colour, configuration pattern and ornamentation.

    You can use a design right for the look of a whole, physical product if you're producing it on a commercial scale.

    Examples of design rights
    Zimmerman dress
    Audi car model
    King Furniture sofa
    Learn about design rights
    Design

    Design rights

    A design right legally protects the overall appearance of your new and distinctive product. The appearance may be a combination of shape, colour, configuration pattern and ornamentation.

    You can use a design right for the look of a whole, physical product if you're producing it on a commercial scale.

    Examples of design rights
    Zimmerman dress
    Audi car model
    King Furniture sofa
    Learn about design rights
    Design

    Design rights

    A design right legally protects the overall appearance of your new and distinctive product. The appearance may be a combination of shape, colour, configuration pattern and ornamentation.

    You can use a design right for the look of a whole, physical product if you're producing it on a commercial scale.

    Examples of design rights
    Zimmerman dress
    Audi car model
    King Furniture sofa
    Learn about design rights
    Trade marks

    Trade marks

    A trade mark legally protects your brand, and helps customers distinguish your goods and services from competitors.

    You can use a trademark for a logo, word, phrase, letter, number, sound, scent, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these. There are some things that can't be protected with a trade mark.

    Examples of trade marks
    Nike swoosh logo
    Cadbury purple
    Shape of a Coca-Cola bottle
    Learn about trade marks
    Other considerations
    Copyright

    Copyright protection is free and automatic. It protects your original expression of an idea as soon as you document it.

    Copyright protects art, non-commercial design, music, literature or film. For example, the Game of Thrones TV series is protected by copyright.

    The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication manages copyright in Australia.

    Learn about copyright
    Design

    Design rights

    A design right legally protects the overall appearance of your new and distinctive product. The appearance may be a combination of shape, colour, configuration pattern and ornamentation.

    You can use a design right for the look of a whole, physical product if you're producing it on a commercial scale.

    Examples of design rights
    Zimmerman dress
    Audi car model
    King Furniture sofa
    Learn about design rights
    Other considerations
    Copyright

    Copyright protection is free and automatic. It protects your original expression of an idea as soon as you document it.

    Copyright protects art, non-commercial design, music, literature or film. For example, the Game of Thrones TV series is protected by copyright.

    The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication manages copyright in Australia.

    Learn about copyright
    Design

    Design rights

    A design right legally protects the overall appearance of your new and distinctive product. The appearance may be a combination of shape, colour, configuration pattern and ornamentation.

    You can use a design right for the look of a whole, physical product if you're producing it on a commercial scale.

    Examples of design rights
    Zimmerman dress
    Audi car model
    King Furniture sofa
    Learn about design rights
    Trade marks

    Trade marks

    A trade mark legally protects your brand, and helps customers distinguish your goods and services from competitors.

    You can use a trademark for a logo, word, phrase, letter, number, sound, scent, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these. There are some things that can't be protected with a trade mark.

    Examples of trade marks
    Nike swoosh logo
    Cadbury purple
    Shape of a Coca-Cola bottle
    Learn about trade marks
    Other considerations
    Copyright

    Copyright protection is free and automatic. It protects your original expression of an idea as soon as you document it.

    Copyright protects art, non-commercial design, music, literature or film. For example, the Game of Thrones TV series is protected by copyright.

    The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication manages copyright in Australia.

    Learn about copyright
    Copyright

    Copyright protection is free and automatic. It protects your original expression of an idea as soon as you document it.

    Copyright protects art, non-commercial design, music, literature or film. For example, the Game of Thrones TV series is protected by copyright.

    The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication manages copyright in Australia.

    Learn about copyright
    Other considerations
    Design
    Design rights

    A design right legally protects the overall appearance of your new and distinctive product. The appearance may be a combination of shape, colour, configuration pattern and ornamentation.

    You can use a design right for the look of a whole, physical product if you're producing it on a commercial scale.

    Examples of design rights
    Zimmerman dress
    Audi car model
    King Furniture sofa
    Learn about design rights
    Trade marks
    Trade marks

    A trade mark legally protects your brand, and helps customers distinguish your goods and services from competitors.

    You can use a trademark for a logo, word, phrase, letter, number, sound, scent, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these. There are some things that can't be protected with a trade mark.

    Examples of trade marks
    Nike swoosh logo
    Cadbury purple
    Shape of a Coca-Cola bottle
    Learn about trade marks
    Trade marks

    Trade marks

    A trade mark legally protects your brand, and helps customers distinguish your goods and services from competitors.

    You can use a trademark for a logo, word, phrase, letter, number, sound, scent, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these.

    A sound trade mark protects a distinguishing auditory piece. It could be a jingle, sung or spoken words, or even a mechanical clicking noise.

    Examples of trade marks
    Nike swoosh logo
    Cadbury purple
    Shape of a Coca-Cola bottle
    Learn about trade marks 
    Other considerations
    Copyright

    Copyright protection is free and automatic. It protects your original expression of an idea as soon as you document it.

    Copyright protects art, non-commercial design, music, literature or film. For example, the Game of Thrones TV series is protected by copyright.

    The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication manages copyright in Australia.

    Learn about copyright
    Trade marks

    Trade marks

    A trade mark legally protects your brand, and helps customers distinguish your goods and services from competitors.

    You can use a trademark for a logo, word, phrase, letter, number, sound, scent, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these. You'll need to pick a name for your new plant variety that hasn't already been protected with a trade mark.

    Examples of trade marks
    Nike swoosh logo
    Cadbury purple
    Shape of a Coca-Cola bottle
    Learn about trade marks
    Plant breeder's rights

    Plant Breeder's rights

    A plant breeder's right (PBR) legally protects the new plant variety you have developed.

    You can use a PBR for new variations of plants and trees including flowers, vegetables, fruits, bushes and shrubs.

    Examples of PBRs
    Barley Spartacus CL
    Apple Bravo Apple
    Flower Flame Legacy
    Learn about plant breeder's rights
    Plant breeder's rights

    Plant Breeder's rights

    A plant breeder's right (PBR) legally protects the new plant variety you have developed.

    You can use a PBR for new variations of plants and trees including flowers, vegetables, fruits, bushes and shrubs.

    Examples of PBRs
    Barley Spartacus CL
    Apple Bravo Apple 
    Flower Flame Legacy
    Learn about plant breeder's rights

    Please note this guide is intended as general advice only. For specific assistance or advice, we recommend that you contact an IP professional.

Related content

Design rights Patents Plant breeders rights Trade marks Copyright Other

Types of IP

There are four types of IP you can register through IP Australia.

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The importance of valuing IP

The value of intellectual property (IP) can dramatically increase over the years. It's important to protect your assets early on and plan for business growth. 

Trade marks Apply

TM Checker

TM Checker makes it easier for small businesses to check if a trade mark is available. Here's how it works.