Recent figures show that 70 per cent of local intellectual property (IP) protection filings (patent, trade marks, registered designs) in Australia come from SMEs.

These figures were presented by IP Australia Director General Patricia Kelly during a recent seminar Intellectual Property – your business here and abroad, hosted by IP Australia and InnovationAus.

It’s a sobering indication that start-up companies are failing to get on the front foot early enough to lock down their most valuable asset – their IP. Given the level of innovation in Australia, we would expect to see a higher proportion of IP filings by our innovators in smaller and start-up businesses, rather than the current dominance by established SMEs.

The golden rule for innovative technology-based companies seeking to secure IP protection, such as patent protection, for a new innovation is to keep the details of the new concept behind closed doors and out of the public domain before your IP house is in order.

It is perhaps a lack of awareness of this golden rule, or simply an eagerness to showcase the new technology to the world and potential investors or a combination of both, which is leading to the lower levels of effort in securing IP protection during the critical early stages of businesses in the start-up sector in Australia.

Whatever the reasons or motivations it is clear that the start-up sector is not making the most of the important and available IP systems for protecting valuable IP assets.

The good news is that, for future innovations, start-ups can immediately commence the pursuit of IP protection, giving the business a much greater chance of success with investors who continually (albeit ruthlessly) require such protection before getting on board with a start-up.

Shelston IP has experts with skills across the core engineering and science technologies to assist in protecting your inventions, as well as brand protection experts to secure your trade mark rights. Our experts are happy to work with your business to develop a suitable IP strategy for managing and protecting your core technology, leaving you free to focus your efforts on the day-to-day commercial activities to grow and expand your business.