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Kid playing with jet pack at home.

So what?

Imagine if one day you wake up with a brilliant new idea to solve a problem in everyday life that affects us all.

Can you protect your idea from the rest of the world copying it, not paying you, or recognising your achievement? One option is to use intellectual property laws.

How does it work?

Intellectual property law organises, controls and regulates a range of creative, inventive and innovative expression. It’s the property right that exists when an idea comes to life in the real world.

It’s similar to contract and torts law, in that intellectual property is a type of private law, but it’s also different in that it focuses on regulating relationships between individuals and how their ideas are respected and maintained when they are shared with the world.

There are many benefits of intellectual property law. It recognises and ensures that the author, designer or inventor receives the financial reward and accolades they deserve for their effort, creating a virtuous cycle of public good whereby innovation and invention can be protected and encouraged. It can also help make sure that consumers aren’t mislead or deceived about what they are buying or viewing.

Share your thoughts on the effectiveness of intellectual property law by taking part in this poll.

What you need to do

  1. Respond to the ‘So what?’ poll.
  2. Return to this step, and then within the Comments, share with other learners the reason for your answer.

How did you respond?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to the poll question, provide an example of an invention or creative work that has been developed or benefited from protection by intellectual property law.

If you answered ‘No’, describe the changes you would make to intellectual property law to more effectively cover invention or creative works.

Curious about the results of the poll?

Review the results of the poll, return to this step and then within the Comments, let other learners know about your thoughts on the outcome.

Once you have, take some time to read and respond to comments made by other learners. Remember, you can also ‘Like’ comments or follow other learners throughout the course.


All the information collected will be stored and handled according to Google’s Privacy Policy / T&C. Your participation has no effect on your course progress, marks or FutureLearn profile.


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This article is from the free online course:

Law for Non-Lawyers: Introduction to Law

Monash University