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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.


If you take a closer look at most consumer items in the world quite often you will see how makers and creators tell the world that they retain intellectual property rights, either with an internationally recognised symbol, like: © or (™), or even with a patent number on a piece of machinery. However, remember that just because there is no symbol, logo or message on the product it doesn’t mean that there is no owner of the intellectual property in the product.


You can find out about intellectual property rights in your country by accessing free public legal information about your rights and responsibilities, from not-for-profit organisations like the Australian Copyright Council as well as searching national registers or by contacting regulators who can assist you further. In Australia, government departments such as IP Australia provide an online searchable index of patents in a system called AusPat.


As you can now probably appreciate, intellectual property rights are big business and have significant market value to the companies or individuals who own these rights. Because of this, you need to invest in specialised legal advice if you think you have an intellectual property legal problem, are worried about infringing rights, or want to take steps to protect your own intellectual property. Patent lawyers/attorneys are have specialist expertise in protecting and registering inventions.

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This article is from the free online course:

Law for Non-Lawyers: Introduction to Law

Monash University