A patent is personal property which confers the exclusive right to exploit an invention. Thus, a patent effectively gives the inventor (or a person who derives title from the inventor) a statutory monopoly for a specified period.
A registered design is personal property which confers the exclusive right to embody the design in a product, which effectively means that the registered design gives the owner the exclusive right to make, offer or sell products having the appearance of the registered design. A registered design gives the designer (or a person who derives title from the designer) a statutory monopoly for a specified period.
A trade mark is a sign used or intended to be used in the course of trade to distinguish the goods or services of one trader from those of other traders. In order to be registrable, a trade mark must be at least capable of distinguishing the goods and services for which it is registered from the goods and services of others. Before adopting a trade mark, thorough searches should be conducted to determine the availability of the mark for use and registration. Ahearn Fox is here to ensure that you own your trade mark and that it is registered properly.
International trade mark protection The Madrid Protocol provides for the filing of an international trade mark application based on an Australian trade mark application or registration. The international application may designate any one or more countries or regions which are contracting parties to the protocol. More countries may be added to the international application or international registration, even if a country becomes a contracting party to the protocol after the international trade mark application has been filed.
International patent applications can be filed which covers all member countries of the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT) which now exceeds 145 countries.
Australia is a signatory to a number of international treaties which make patent and trade mark protection overseas easier. The most comprehensive treaty is the Paris Convention for the protection of industrial property, which is commonly known simply as the Paris Convention. Most countries are member countries and are commonly referred to as "convention countries". One of the advantages given by the Paris Convention is that it allows for later filing in other convention countries within the "convention" period. The convention period for patent applications is 12 months from the first filing and for design applications and trade mark applications the convention period is 6 months.