Free consultation service for Aussie inventors

The value of Australian intellectual property should be better protected according to a leading industry body.

Inventors and other creators of Intellectual Property (IP) are being given access to a free service involving an initial IP consultation with a Patent or Trade Mark Attorney from the Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia (IPTA) – the peak body for the profession in Australia.

According to IPTA, a significant proportion of Australia’s IP is poorly or inappropriately protected, potentially costing IP creators and the country millions of dollars in lost revenue.

In commenting on this free service, IPTA Councilor, Stuart Smith, said “too few people who create valuable IP know at the outset how to properly protect and commercially exploit what they have created. And the sad fact is that once you have filed for IP protection, it can be difficult, expensive, and quite often impossible, to go back later and fix errors or emissions made during the initial drafting and filing processes.”

IPTA hopes that its Free Consultation Service will encourage innovators and business people to discuss their IP with a suitably qualified Patent or Trade Mark Attorney.

This will give them an understanding of the most appropriate forms of protection, the different options and associated costs, the documentation they will need, the countries in which they should (and possibly should not) be filing and the potential pitfalls to avoid.

“Almost every one of our members would know of someone who has tried to ‘go it alone’ with their IP and ended up either inadequately protected or faced with unnecessary costs when attempting to enforce their rights. One of the biggest issues is that there are very few warning signs along the way.

“Consequently, damaging or fatal defects may not come to light until years later, when the rights are sought to be commercialised or enforced. By that stage, it is often not possible to rectify the initial defects. The end result is that the IP rights that were thought to have been protected, turn out to have been seriously compromised or even lost altogether – irrevocably,” said Smith.

“We see it as part of the Institute’s role to take an educational position in relation to IP, in order to minimise these sorts of problems, and our Free Consultation Service is a tangible aspect of that role.”

Free consultations can take place in person or, for those living in remote areas, can be take place by phone.

Consultations typically take around 30 minutes, after which IP creators usually have sufficient information to know how best to proceed.

This would include a better understanding of the most suitable forms of IP protection, the different routes by which that protection could be pursued, optional steps such as pre-filing searches and the approximate costs of the various options.

“Many IP creators may still choose to self-file, as their IP could be quite simple, but even in those cases, they would usually be better equipped to avoid some of the pitfalls if they had consulted with a specialist Patent or Trade Mark Attorney.

Others might decide that further professional advice would be a worthwhile investment, given the potential value of their IP and the downside risk of not protecting it adequately at the outset,” said Smith.

The Institute believes that by widely promoting the Free Consultation Service, the value of Australian IP will rise and individual inventors and innovators will gain the return they deserve for their efforts.

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