Reduction to practice


Registered your IP patent right for new, useful, non-obvious invention. Excludes others from practising invention for finite period. State provides exclusive right in exchange for public disclosure of invention. Pre-filing public disclosure can invalidate rights – secrecy critical. IP Protection is country-specific.

Trade Marks

Unregistered and registered right. Trade Mark is a distinctive sign, a badge of origin, prevents confusion in marketplace. Trade mark registration significantly improves protection. Finite period but indefinite if renewed and used. Protection is country-specific. Use ™ pre-registration;® once registered.

IP in 40 words or less


Unregistered copyright. Protects creative works (literary, artistic, musical and dramatic) but includes goods such as software. Exclusive copyright to control reproduction / adaptation for finite period. Does not cover ideas and information, only expression. Use © to signify rights.


Registered right for new and distinctive features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation applied to a product. Protects visual appearance but not how product works. Pre-filing public disclosure can invalidate rights – secrecy critical. Protection is country-specific.

Confidential Information

Unregistered right. Non-public information concerning commercial practices or proprietary knowledge. Non-disclosure agreements can protect when disclosing secret information to suppliers, potential investors, employees, or business partners. Important with R&D, patents and designs. No protection for information in public domain.


Ready for market? Freedom to operate? Don’t mislead / deceive. Check brands, labels, marketing, advertising, promotion, industry standards.  Devil is in the detail.  No review may = product recall. Turn dreams into $.  Contract to design, manufacture, distribute, promote products / services.


IP demystified