How do I protect my intellectual property?

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Safeguarding intellectual property (IP) can often be a challenge in foreign markets. The panellists at our recent SME briefings, all Australian SMEs who export or are involved in export-related contracts, discussed some of the ways they have protected their IP overseas.

Protect your products with patents

“We're obsessive about confidential information and protecting technical know how in the factory. So lots of security around that. We don't let anyone in; we don't let anyone take photographs. But protecting IP is hard and it is expensive.” – James Douglas, Carbon Revolution

Build strong relationships with local partners

“One of the factories [in China] had literally pretty much duplicated our catalogue and was selling it on to other customers with a bit of a change of brand. The moment I raised it with the owner they did delete that catalogue because I essentially just said look you have gone against your word, especially in China they're very much about relationships.” – Mick Spencer, Onthego Group

Ensure your quality and delivery are high

 “What we've learnt over the decade is that it is our performance and delivery that probably protects us. One of our clients in India… did try to rip off our IP and run it in one of their other major markets. The interesting thing was even having learnt exactly how we do it, they thought, their program generated about 5% in a major market of what ours did.” – George Buschman, Boost Media

Move quickly and stay agile

“The most important way to protect a patent is to actually get your product to market the way people want it as fast as you can. R&D and staying ahead of the curve in terms of product and what it can do out in the market is critical.” Calvin Stead, Kelly Engineering

Have faith in your brand

“If you build great products people are going to love them, they are going to copy them. It is about the authenticity behind the brand and that's just something that you have got to stick to.” – Mick Spencer, Onthego Group

Hear from some of the panellists at our recent SME briefings on how they manage their intellectual property