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Patent basics – Top 5 things to remember when starting a business

1. Create a corporate structure (i.e. a company)

If two people own the intellectual property (IP), instead of a company, the IP can be licensed by each person individually without requiring the permission of the other person.

2. Inventorship is a matter of fact

Incorrectly listing the inventors of a patent application can automatically invalidate a granted patent in some countries – so be honest. Remember, inventorship and ownership are two very separate things.

Be sure to have your inventors assign their rights to the company under an Assignment Deed to avoid ownership disputes down the track.

3. File first, disclose second

Any disclosure to a third party, even under a Confidentiality Agreement, can potentially lead to patent invalidity down the track if the third party discloses your idea publically (e.g. in a blog) and the breach of confidentiality cannot be traced.

4. Make broad patent claims – take what you can get

The claims of your patent application should start very broadly, even bordering on the verge of what you think is novel, and then offer a range of detailed fall-back positions in case your very broad claims turn out to describe something that is not new or inventive.

To ensure you achieve maximum protection for your invention your patent application should be drafted by a registered Australian patent attorney.

5. Your detailed description should be detailed

Patent claims are only as good as the description that unpins their breadth. It’s crucial to provide a range of supporting embodiments (examples) of how your claims, (i.e. your fundamental new idea) can be implemented.