Intellectual property can be a crucial business tool, however, not everyone thinks hard enough about protecting their big ideas. In 2001, plumber Brad McCarthy got stuck on a remote beach in Cape York in north Queensland and spent about six hours getting his car out with a hand winch. He knew there should be an improved way. In response, he invented Inventhelp Tv Commercials, a light-weight vehicle-recovery device for bogged off-roaders.
After designing the super-tough nylon product, he attended a Queensland Government business seminar, in which the advisers stressed getting patent protection before his idea was publicised. “Among the first things we did was talk to a patent attorney to view how you could protect the thought,” says McCarthy, who launched Maxtrax in 2005. It really is now sold in about 30 countries worldwide. McCarthy has patents in key markets like Australia, Europe and also the US, as well as the business also offers a trademark on the distinctive original “safety orange” hue it uses of its moulded product. Unlike McCarthy, however, many inventors and businesses with recommended cruel their chances of success from the first day.
Their big mistake? Ignoring patents or any other intellectual property protection before they spruik their idea to investors, the public or even friends. It can be a costly error. Bradley Postma, principal at patent and trademark attorney firm Cullens, says small and medium enterprises (SMEs), specifically, often neglect safeguarding their IP or think it will likely be too costly. “The vast majority of protectable IP goes unprotected,” he says.
Europe can be quite a particular trap for exporters because, unlike a few other major markets, it does not have a grace period permitting public disclosure of your invention without affecting the validity of Inventhelp Caveman Commercial. That opens the way for an idea or product to be copied. “In Australia and the United States that can be done something about it, provided you’re within a one-year window – in Europe you can’t, it’s far too late,” Postma says. “In that case, businesses have shot themselves in the foot; they’ve forfeited their rights and everyone can copy [their idea].” Postma observes that business owners often think their idea is simply too simple to warrant a patent. “However, if it’s successful and straightforward, it will likely be copied and you need to get advice.”
Unitary patents on way – Margot Fröhlinger is principal director of unitary patent, European and international legal affairs at the Munich-based European Patent Office (EPO), which oversees about 160,000 patent applications a year. She recently completed a road trip warning Australian companies that poor patent and IP safeguards could derail their European market opportunities. Companies need to innovate – and protect their inventions. “You require the protection of the IP and, in particular, patent protection to acquire an excellent return on your own investment,” she says.
Many international businesses have baulked at exporting to Europe due to complex patent processes across multiple jurisdictions that may end in potentially high costs and marginal protection. However, the EPO is promoting a new unitary patent system that promises to become a game changer. This will make it possible to get protection in approximately 26 participating European Union member states using the submission of a single request for the EPO.
A November 2017 EPO study, Patents, Trade and FDI inside the European Union, suggests better harmonisation of Europe’s patent system has got the potential to increase trade and foreign direct investment in high-tech sectors, delivering annual gains of €14.6 billion ($A22.8 billion) in trade and €1.8 billion (A$2.81 billion) in foreign direct investment.
Fröhlinger believes Australian businesses across all sectors have chances to expand to the European market, which boasts more than 500 million people, high gross domestic product and powerful consumer demand. “It’s extremely important for Australian businesses to comprehend that you will find a big change ahead in Europe. I’m not talking just about patents,” Fröhlinger says. “It’s essential to have an integrated IP portfolio considering patents and trademarks and (covering) design. Should they don’t have (IP) people in-house they ought to make an effort to get strategic business advice.”
The price of intangible assets – This call to action for Australian businesses may come as the worldwide Innovation Index 2017 reports on countries’ IP receipts being a portion of total trade. Essentially, the measure indicates the way a country is performing on the IP front. While Australia scores well with regards to inputs into research and development, the united states (5.1 per cent), Japan (4.7 per cent) and Finland (2.9 %) easily outperform Australia (.3 per cent) on IP royalties.
Your message? As a general rule, Australian companies usually are not good at converting research into value and treat IP almost as an administrative function. The exceptions are health tech leaders, like medical device company Cochlear and sleep-disorder business ResMed, which understand the value of intangible assets like brand and data use, vyltsm build their businesses around it.
In a knowledge-based economy, IP has turned into a crucial business tool and governing it has stopped being only a matter of organising trademarks and patents. Intangible assets are rapidly increasingly important than tangible assets and require appropriate consideration.
Overview of Australia’s top listed companies, released by Glasshouse Advisory in September 2017, endorses such a sentiment. It reveals that 38 percent from the companies’ value (regarding a$550 billion) is not included on the balance sheets; this indicates that Inventhelp Success are operating without insights in to a significant proportion from the corporate asset base.