Italian tips to decode the Intellectual Property Law in Australia
Australian rules are common-law based, and our entrepreneurs may find it difficult to familiarize without guidance
In order to boost Italian investments in Australia, the Consulate General of Italy in Melbourne has supported the publication of a "General Guide to Intellectual Property Law in the State of Victoria".
There are two reasons why the Italian Consul General, Mr. Marco Maria Cerbo, decided to support this initiative: "the issue of intellectual property is a sensitive one, and the first step to tackle it is having a precise knowledge of the local IP protection system; Australian rules are common-law based, and our entrepreneurs may find it difficult to familiarize without guidance. He was definitely right as the guide received a warm welcome in both Australia and Italy, where Confindustria, the main Italian association of industrial enterprises, sent a copy to all its associates.
The author of this clever Guide is Mr. Giovanni Di Lieto, an Italian-born legal researcher based in Melbourne, where he lectures Australian law at Navitas College of Public Safety.
According to Mr. Di Lieto, understanding how to protect IP rights is crucial tu business success in Australia. Indeed, since Australia currently protects different forms of IP, it may not be that easy for foreign entrepreneurs to identify which IP laws would be most appropriate for the targeted commercial purposes, and they usually need professional advice to understand the different forms of IP, their relevance and most advantageous application. "In general, IP rights are an incentive to encourage and reward innovation, as they provide a competitive advantage and can also form an important asset on the balance sheet of a business. Thus, protecting and managing IP assets is critical when establishing a product or service in the market and is often the difference between success or failure in business."
Among the most interesting points of the guide, it is worth mentioning that, in Australia, "some IP rights require a formal process of application, examination and registration while others come into play without the need for a registration process", and that "IP rights are not policed by the authorities. Instead, it is the owner's exclusive responsibility to monitor and report any actual infringements that may occur. However, Australian federal courts are generally vigorous in enforcing IP rights, hence it is crucial that businesses act without delay in order not to jeopardise their available legal rights, for instance to obtain an injunction against an infringer."
The Guide is available at the Consulate General of Italy's offices in Melbourne or alternatively it can be downloaded from the Consulate's website.