Start ups | Halfords IP | Patents, Designs & Trade Marks

Start ups

Our focus is on educating and nurturing Australian start-ups.

Critical to the success of any start-up is the proper protection of the inventions and other intellectual property being created within the start-up….this is what provides a commercial barrier to prevent a competitor from simply copying your new and inventive ideas.

Why Halfords IP for startups?

We understand start-ups… A prime focus of ours at Halfords IP is towards our local Australian entrepreneurs and start-ups. Our Attorney’s families and friends are in the start-up world, so we understand the innovative and entrepreneurial mindset, and also, the difficulties which start-ups face.

We understand your technology… All our Patent Attorneys have either engineering or science degrees, so, we understand your technology. We match the most appropriate technically qualified Patent Attorneys to the particular engineering or science discipline of your invention.

We, like you, are different… We are not a ‘big end of town’ corporate firm stuck in their usual traditional ways. Most of our Attorneys have had vast experience at those firms, but left for good reason. We pride ourselves on our innovative culture, and, our adaptability to tailor our services to suit the individual needs of entrepreneurs and start-ups. We do this whilst maintaining the utmost highest quality of work.

We take the time to clearly explain things… We realise that inventors and start-ups are primarily focused on tech things and don’t usually have much of a background in IP. We also understand that as a start-up, you are juggling all sorts of other tasks, and don’t necessarily have a whole lot of spare time to research IP legislation. We will take the time to clearly and concisely explain the IP processes, costs, etc. in plain English so you can quickly understand what you need to know.

We work quickly to meet your deadlines… We know how time can fly in the start-up world. We realise that, with the need to disclose your invention to an investor at a moments notice, sometimes the filing of your patent application or other IP rights can be left until the last minute. We will do our best in these circumstances to expeditiously file your patent application at the Patent Office in these time-critical situations so you can make your urgent disclosures with appropriate peace of mind.

We are competitively priced… We don’t have the traditional ‘big end of town’ corporate firm pricing models. As a mid-sized Patent Attorney firm, we just don’t have the same overheads and infrastructure of those big firms. We don’t have the same time-recordable pressures of those big firms. Despite this, as our Attorneys mostly came from those firms, we still provide the same quality of work.

We have innovative service packages for start-ups… Having a vast experience in working with start-ups, we have some unique ‘start-up packages’ which collate together the services which start-ups are looking for at an affordable cost. And we are happy to tailor these further to your specific needs. Please contact us for further information.


Top ten tips… for startups

  1. Do not disclose your idea
    • If disclosures are made, have a Confidentiality Agreement executed.
    • However, there is a 12 month ‘grace period’ in Australia and USA.
    • Any disclosure will invalidate Patents in most countries.
  2. Keep your idea separate from any employment obligations
    • Employers usually automatically own IP created by their employees.
    • If ‘inventing’ is clearly not within your employment role, then you may own the IP.
    • You should also not work on the invention during employment hours.
    • You should also not use employers equipment to work on your own invention.
  3. Get all IP assigned by any consultants/employees you engage to assist you
    • Paying someone, including an employee or a consultant, to provide technical assistance does
    • not automatically mean you own IP rights.
    • Always get an assignment of IP from anyone working on the invention.
  4. Conduct Patent/internet searches to determine patentability and freedom to operate (FTO) to determine patentability
    • Always conduct a ‘prior art’ search before investing in the patenting process.
    • Search patent records, such as IP Australia, USPTO, and EPO.
    • Search non-patent literature, such as Google, trade journals and scientific publication.

    To determine freedom to operate:

    • Search Patent records to see what IP competitors have to ensure you will not infringe.
  5. File Patents ASAP and often
    • A Patent protects the way an invention ‘works’.
    • The invention must be novel (new) and inventive (not obvious).
    • The patent system is a ‘first-to-file’ system.
    • Startups should file an initial provisional patent application early to claim IP ownership – this
    • provides 12 months protection.
    • You may then mark as ‘patent pending’ or ‘patent applied for’.
    • You may then freely disclose your invention in a pitch, or otherwise.
    • As you make improvements, you should file additional provisional patent applications ASAP.
    • You may ‘cognate’ several provisional applications together in a single complete application,
    • filed within 12 months of the earliest provisional application filing date.
    • Any overseas applications or an international (PCT) patent application should also be filed
    • within 12 months of the earliest provisional application filing date.
    • Patents generally last 20 years, after which anyone may make the invention.
  6. Select a great name and undertake a trademark search
    • A Trade Mark may be any word, phrase, symbol, design, colour, smell or sound.
    • Choose a ‘made up’ name which is not descriptive of the goods/services.
    • Conduct a search to check its availability, and that it will not infringe any other TM.
  7. Register your trade mark and properly use ®
    • ‘common law’ rights automatically exist in any Trade Mark, but, you will need to prove your
    • use and reputation in the mark before an infringer can be stopped. 
    • A registered Trade Mark allows you to immediately obtain an injunction to stop an infringer.
    • Use superscript TM whilst the Trade Mark application is pending.
    • Use the registration symbol R when it is officially registered.
  8. File registered Designs prior to product release
    • A registered design protects the shape, configuration, pattern and/or ornamentation of
    • a product.
    • It only protects the ‘visual appearance’ of the product, not the way it looks.
    • It will stop ‘substantially identical’ copying of the ‘look’ of the product.
    • File only when prototyping is complete and the product will not visually change in appearance.
    • Registered designs last 10 years in Australia.
  9. Assert Copyright in brochures, packaging, instructions and on web
    • Copyright protects ‘artistic works’.
    • This includes brochures, packaging, instruction manuals, etc.
    • Copyright protection is automatic in Australia.
    • Use the Copyright symbol © and date to assert your rights.
    • Be careful not to copy other peoples images, especially from the internet.
  10. Enforce your IP rights but avoid litigation
    • Be vigilant to ensure your IP is not copied.
    • Usually, infringement issues are usually reasonably easily resolved by a Patent Attorney,
    • to achieve an appropriate commercial outcome.
    • Litigation can be expensive and should be avoided.
    • Your IP is a ‘commercial tool’ and should be used to maximise your profits.