What is a Patent?

Legal protection granted to an invention, being a product, manufacturing process, business methodology, and some computer programs. Registration protection must be sought on a country-by-country basis. Ideas, without more, cannot be patented


What is copyright?

Legal protection for the original expression of ideas, in the form of literary works, artistic works, musical and dramatic works, sound recordings, films, television and radio broadcasts. Computer programs are considered literary works, while blueprints are considered artistic works.
As with patents, there is no copyright protection in an idea except as how it is expressed.


What are trade secrets?

Any information, including experimental methods, computer software, formulae, ideas, prototypes, processes, recipes, drawings, specifications, customer lists, business strategies and sales/marketing information, that is not known by a owner's competitors, provides the owner with a competitive advantage, and is treated by the owner in a way to prevent the public or competitors learning about it (other than by improper acquisition or theft).

It is the relationship of confidence between the information owner and the recipient which receives legal protection, not the information itself. Consequently, it remains of value only while it remains a secret.


What is an industrial design?

The pattern, shape, ornamentation or configuration (ie. the appearance) of mass produced products may be registered in the same way as a patent, the tests of registrability are similar to that for patents and the legal rights afforded to a registered design are similar.


What is a trade mark?

A trade mark is any word, logo, smell sound or colour which indicates the trade origin of goods or services. A trade mark distinguishes the products/services of one company from the similar products/services of other companies, assisting in the creation of goodwill and marketplace recognition of the business and of the products/services they market.

Trade marks can be unregistered or registered. Generic words, geographical names, surnames, highly descriptive or complimentary words are generally difficult to protect.

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