Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsPROFESSOR: This is Inventive Irene. Irene likes to innovate, and one day she comes up with an idea for a device she thinks will solve the problem of wasps flying into open soft drink cans. It's an insert device with room for a straw that sits over the opening of the can, and she hopes it will reduce the chances of wasps or other insects flying into soft drinks. She draws the design of the device on a piece of paper to protect her idea. She decides to lock the design drawings in a drawer to make it confidential information, but what else could Irene do?

Skip to 0 minutes and 41 secondsIrene wants to call her product Buhzz Ohff, using a picture of a wasp in a circle with a line through it. What can she do to protect this name and the image as her logo? Irene makes a prototype herself in her garage of her device, but she does not have enough money to manufacture any more of the device. Nor can she reach the network of outlets that might be able to help offer it for retail sale. What can Irene do? How can she make it clear when meeting with people that their discussions should be in confidence? Irene wants to pitch her idea publicly on a television show. What else can she do to protect herself before she does this?

Skip to 1 minute and 27 secondsWhat about if she wants to sell her product to people overseas? Greedy Gary copies Irene's Buhzz Ohff device, and he sells it online cheaper than Irene. What can she do to stop him? Can she sue Greedy Gary? Does it matter if Gary runs his online selling business from Australia where Irene is also based? Would it matter if Gary was based overseas but selling the product into Australia?

Case study 2: Inventive Irene

Watch the “Inventive Irene” case study for example of everyday situations that you may not think involve intellectual property law.

Talking point

Within the Comments, consider sharing with other learners your thoughts on the situation faced by Irene in the case study:

  • Irene comes up with an idea she thinks will solve the problem of wasps flying into open soft drink cans. She draws the design of the device on a piece of paper and then locks it away in a drawer to make it confidential information, but what else can she do?

  • Irene wants to call her product “BUHZZ OHFF” using a picture of a wasp in a circle with a line through it. What can she do to protect this name and the image as a logo?

  • Irene makes a prototype of the device herself in her garage, but does not have enough money to manufacture any more nor can she access the network of outlets that might be able to help offer it for retail sale. What can Irene do?

  • How can Irene make it clear when meeting with people that their discussions should be in confidence. Irene wants to pitch her idea publicly on a television show. What else can she do to protect herself before she does this?

  • What about if she wants to sell her product to people overseas?

  • Greedy Garry copies her “BUHZZ OHFF” device and he sells it online cheaper than Irene. What can she do to stop him?

  • Can she sue Greedy Garry? Does it matter if Garry runs his online selling business from Australia where Irene is also based? Would it matter if Garry was based overseas but selling product into Australia?

You might like to take some time to read comments made by other learners, and if you find these comments interesting, respond to them. Remember you can also ‘like’ comments or follow other learners throughout the course.

Responses to your comments can be viewed by selecting Replies.


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This video is from the free online course:

Law for Non-Lawyers: Introduction to Law

Monash University