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The Ross Hyams perspective

Ross Hyams is an educator and law practitioner. Here, Ross presents his unique perspective on the essential things you need to know about intellectual property law.

There are a wide range of laws with a purpose of protecting the valuable creations and inventions of others. But, what can we do to make sure that we respect the intellectual property rights of others and not infringe or break the law in our day-to-day lives?

We’ve put together a list of suggestions for you to consider.


Before you share or market your new idea with the world, make sure you protect it by applying for and using the system of registration that operates in your home country. This is important to avoid the risk of someone else taking or copying your idea and its future commercial value. Consulting with a lawyer with expertise in intellectual property law at this stage is essential.


Some kinds of intellectual property rights are not held exclusively by an owner forever. Once you’ve registered your new invention or business, check to see when the expiration date is of that registration, as well as whether you can re-register and further protect your intellectual property after that date. Again, legal assistance to make sure registration is completed properly, together with advice about what other protective measures that are available to you is a good investment.


Intellectual property rights are private legal rights. This means that if someone infringes your rights, generally speaking, it is up to you to enforce those rights and seek a suitable legal remedy. This doesn’t have to be in the form of financial compensation, it could also include an injunction which is a court order stopping a party from infringing your intellectual property rights.

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This article is from the free online course:

Law for Non-Lawyers: Introduction to Law

Monash University