Intellectual property can be a crucial business tool, however, not everyone thinks with enough concentration 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 6 hours getting his car out with a hand winch. He knew there must be an improved way. In response, he invented Inventhelp Reviews, a light-weight vehicle-recovery device for bogged off-roaders.
After designing the super-tough nylon product, he attended a Queensland Government business seminar, where the advisers stressed getting patent protection before his idea was publicised. “One of the first things we did was talk with a patent attorney to view the way we could protect the thought,” says McCarthy, who launched Maxtrax in 2005. It really is now available in about 30 countries worldwide. McCarthy has patents in key markets including Australia, Europe and also the US, as well as the business even offers a trademark on the distinctive original “safety orange” hue it uses of its moulded product. Unlike McCarthy, however, many inventors and businesses with a good idea cruel their likelihood of success from day one.
Their big mistake? Ignoring patents or any other intellectual property protection before they spruik their idea to investors, people as well as friends. It may be a costly error. Bradley Postma, principal at patent and trademark attorney firm Cullens, says small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in particular, often neglect safeguarding their IP or think it will probably be expensive. “The majority of protectable IP goes unprotected,” he says.
Europe can be a particular trap for exporters because, unlike some other major markets, it does not have a grace period permitting public disclosure of your invention without affecting the validity of Invent Help Ideas. That opens just how for the idea or product to get copied. “In Australia and america that you can do something about this, provided you’re inside a one-year window – in Europe you can’t, it’s too late,” Postma says. “In that case, businesses have shot themselves in the foot; they’ve forfeited their rights and anyone can copy [their idea].” Postma observes that business owners often think their idea is just too very easy to warrant a patent. “However, if it’s successful and straightforward, it will probably be copied and you have to get advice.”
Unitary patents on way – Margot Fröhlinger is principal director of unitary patent, European and international legal affairs in 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 need the protection of your own IP and, in particular, patent protection to acquire an excellent return on the investment,” she says.
Many international businesses have baulked at exporting to Europe because of complex patent processes across multiple jurisdictions that may end in potentially high costs and marginal protection. However, the EPO is promoting a brand new unitary patent system that promises as a game changer. This makes it possible to get protection in approximately 26 participating European Union member states using the submission of any single request towards the EPO.
A November 2017 EPO study, Patents, Trade and FDI inside the European Union, suggests better harmonisation of Europe’s patent system has the possibility 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 opportunities to expand into the European market, which boasts more than 500 million people, high gross domestic product and strong consumer demand. “It’s extremely important for Australian businesses to understand that there exists a big change ahead in Europe. I’m not talking only about patents,” Fröhlinger says. “It’s very important to have an integrated IP portfolio considering patents and trademarks and (covering) design. If they don’t have (IP) individuals-house they ought to attempt to get strategic business advice.”
The value of intangible assets – This call to action for Australian businesses may come as the Global Innovation Index 2017 reports on countries’ IP receipts as a portion of total trade. In essence, the measure indicates the way a country is performing on the IP front. While Australia scores well in terms of inputs into research and development, the usa (5.1 %), Japan (4.7 %) and Finland (2.9 %) easily outperform Australia (.3 percent) on IP royalties.
The content? For the most part, Australian companies are certainly not proficient at converting research into value and treat IP nearly as an administrative function. The exceptions are health tech leaders, such as 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 is not just a matter of organising trademarks and patents. Intangible assets are rapidly more and more important than tangible assets and require appropriate consideration.
An overview of Australia’s top listed companies, released by Glasshouse Advisory in September 2017, endorses this kind of sentiment. It reveals that 38 percent of the companies’ value (regarding a$550 billion) is not really included on their own balance sheets; this means that that Inventhelp Success Stories are operating without insights into a significant proportion from the corporate asset base.