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Trademarks, Intellectual Property & Copyright

Catherine Sedgley

Special Counsel – Intellectual Property and Franchising

Matthew Paul

Associate - Corporate and Commercial

Matthew Rouse

Managing Director – Corporate & Commercial and Mergers & Acquisitions

From idea to market, our IP lawyers will make it happen

From a light bulb moment to a revenue-generating asset, Rouse Lawyers is in the business of turning your ideas into dollars. When you need an IP lawyer in Brisbane to ensure your project gets off the ground fully protected, reach out to our Intellectual Property specialists for legal guidance.

What Can Our IP Lawyers Do For You?

The knowledgeable team of commercial law specialists in our Brisbane practice have you covered across all aspects of trademarking, copyright and intellectual property law.

Our client network extends from the local to the global allowing us to meet your IP law needs wherever you do business.

Our expertise includes:

  • Trademarks (including trademark registration services and portfolio management)
  • Copyright and moral rights
  • Domain names (including domain name disputes)
  • Confidential information and trade secrets
  • IP commercialisation and licensing
  • Patent commercialisation
  • Information technology
  • IP infringement and enforcement
  • Misleading and deceptive conduct and passing off
  • IP disputes and litigation
  • Management and structuring
  • Advertising and marketing campaigns
  • Trade promotions

Our IP lawyers work hand in hand with experts in other teams like technology, business structuring, franchising and commercial transactions to ensure we present you with the whole picture when it comes to your business ventures.

Your idea isn’t ordinary and neither should your legal team.

Come speak to an intellectual property lawyer. Our office is in central Brisbane. We want to support your ideas from concept to reality. We build lasting relationships with our clients so that we can be with you every step of the way.

Protect Your Intellectual Property With Savvy IP Lawyers

Imitation may be the highest form of flattery except when it involves a business idea you’ve put long hours to nurture, research and market.

The experienced IP lawyers in our Brisbane team are here to help you develop your business idea from creation, to protection, acquisition, marketing and – importantly – enforcement of IP.

With many years of experience across industries and sectors, we provide high quality advice in this highly specialised area of law. We make sure no one unfairly or illegally reaps the benefits of your hard-won trademarks, copyrights and unique business concepts.

You Need an IP Lawyer to Succeed

Getting a winning idea to market can be a race against the clock.

While you work on your product or concept development, you need a trusted team to action the legal and commercial dimensions of the next-big-thing.

At Rouse Lawyers, we embrace challenge and change. Our IP lawyers are here to enable your business ideas, not block them with red tape. We can point out any potential pitfalls and find sound solutions should you run into problems.

Rouse Lawyers is a group of street-wise, pragmatic, business-savvy commercial lawyers. We know ins and outs of intellectual property law and pride ourselves on offering our clients holistic legal and commercial solutions.

Once we have your concept under wraps, talk to us about corporate structure, technology law, licensing, tax or harnessing R&D opportunities.

Guaranteed: Fee Certainty

IP law is notoriously expensive to manage. No two concepts are the same and there is no ‘one size fits all’ scenario. Unexpected legal fees can be a barrier to business development process.

That’s why we offer a ‘no surprises’ fee policy giving business owners certainty about this aspect of their budget.

We offer a number of engagement models to suit different business structures. They all have one thing in common: whether we charge a fixed fee or a case-based estimate, you can be sure that you will always have cost certainty.

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property (commonly referred to as IP) is a product of the mind.

There are various types of intellectual property. The main types are:

Some less common types of intellectual property include plant breeders rights and circuit layout rights.


Trademarks are anything that identifies the trade source of products or services.

Trademarks may include brands, logos, slogans and catchphrases. Trademarks can even include shapes, sounds, smells, colours and movement. A famous example of a shape trademark is the Coca Cola bottle.

In order to have trademark rights, the trademark needs to be distinctive of your business. Generally, it’s not possible to trademark descriptive names unless they’re combined with other distinctive elements such as a logo or distinctive words.

Copyright is a collection of exclusive rights that exist for certain types of creative work.

The type of material for which copyright exists includes written material, films, videos, music, sound recordings, photographs, paintings, sculptures, drawings, technical drawings and designs, software, choreography, plays and databases.

A single item can contain more than one element that is protected by copyright.

For example, a video recording of a performer singing a song will have copyright in the song lyrics, the musical score, the video recording and choreography. Each of these is protected by copyright.

The exclusive rights granted by copyright vary depending on the nature of the material. In general, they include the exclusive right to copy the material, to publish the material and to make various other uses of it.

In Australia, copyright protection is automatic. You don’t have to register your copyright.

Copyright protection generally lasts for 70 years though the date from which that 70 years is calculated varies depending on the nature of the right.

For example, where duration of protection depends on publication, protection is for 70 years from the date of publication. Otherwise, it is generally the life of the author plus 70 years.

The owner of copyright is usually the person who created the material.

There are some exceptions to this such as where the person is an employee and the material is created as part of their employment. In such a case the employer will own the copyright.

Moral Rights

Moral rights are granted under the Copyright Act 1969 (Cth) to the creator of material for which copyright exists.

Unlike copyright, moral rights are non-transferrable. They will always stay with the creator. As a result, a person may have moral rights in material but not own the copyright.

Moral rights are the right of attribution of authorship, the right against false attribution of authorship and the rights not to have a work subjected to derogatory treatment.

Confidential Information and Trade Secrets

Any information that is not known publicly is confidential information.

For a business, this can include customer lists, marketing plans, internal business processes or even recipes or formula for products.

Business ideas that have not been openly discussed can also be considered confidential information.

There is no registration process for confidential information or trade secrets.


Designs are the overall appearance of a product. While some designs can be protected by copyright, where a three dimensional design is in industrial or commercial use, copyright protection no longer applies. In order to be protected, such designs need to be registered.

Designs that are new, distinctive and have not been publicly disclosed can be registered. Design registration protects the design for an initial period of 5 years that is renewable up to 10 years.

The area of design and copyright overlap and can be complicated. Getting legal advice in this area of IP law is recommended.


Inventions that are new, innovative and useful can be protected through patent registration.

There are two types of patent registration available in Australia:

The term of protection is either 8 or 20 years respectively. The process is complicated and advice is recommended.

It is important to note that once an invention has been publicly disclosed, the inventor will no longer be able to protect it through patent registration.

Rouse Lawyers does not draft patent applications. You should contact a patent attorney if you believe you have an invention needing a patent.

Recent Work

Passing off/misleading and deceptive conduct (‘Get-up’)

We acted for a client in defending allegations of passing off, misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to a new product.

The client was in the process of launching a new product. A competitor commenced court proceedings seeking an urgent injunction to prevent distribution of the product.

The matter was resolved in voluntary mediation.

Trademark protection

We advise in relation to clearance of new brands and trademark registration for a range of clients. This is both in Australia and internationally briefing overseas agents to assist with foreign jurisdictions where necessary.

Restructuring ownership of intellectual property

We advised a client on restructuring the ownership of its IP for the purpose of asset protection and future licensing to third parties.

This included the use of new entities, assignments and licences.

Enforcement of trademark rights

An online retail client had recently launched its business.

The client sought advice in relation to the use of its brand by a competitor.

We prepared and sent a letter of demand to enforce the client’s registered trademark rights addressing trademark infringement, misleading and deceptive conduct and passing off.

The competitor agreed to cease using the client’s brand and to never again engage in such conduct.

Latest Articles – Intellectual Property Law
Catherine Sedgley

Special Counsel – Intellectual Property and Franchising

Matthew Paul

Associate - Corporate and Commercial

Matthew Rouse

Managing Director – Corporate & Commercial and Mergers & Acquisitions

Client Reviews

“We highly recommend Rouse Lawyers.

Rouse Lawyers acted for us in the sale of our software business, Precision Mining, to Micromine, a global mining software company. It was a substantial transaction and one in which we (the founding owners) relied on the Rouse M&A team to guide us through the process. We were very impressed with their efforts and tenacity in what was a complex and extensive negotiation process. We highly recommend Rouse Lawyers not only for their M&A expertise but also generally for growing SME’s in the technology space.”

“It’s hard to find good lawyer that understands a “tech” business – Rouse Lawyers are that firm…

“A Big Thank You” to Matthew & the Team at Rouse Lawyers – have assisted me & my business in so many different legal items – from wills to buying property/structuring our business/trademarks/negotiating large deals/spam/privacy issues/lease on our 4 different offices… It’s hard to find good lawyer that understands a “tech” business – Rouse Lawyers are that firm… so skilled in many areas.”

“We have relied on good advice from Rouse Lawyers.

We believe software is driving the world forward. Disruption is happening in every industry and it is our clients who are proactively integrating software into their businesses, to set a whole new standard around the way business is done. We are a business that is growing rapidly and know the importance of good legal advice, which is why we have relied on Rouse Lawyers. Focusing on creating digital platforms on which our clients can innovate to ensure they are the ones modernising, is what gets us out of bed in the mornings.”

“I would recommend Rouse Lawyers for any business.

Young Guns has engaged Rouse Lawyers for all legal requirement/advice for the past 10 years. They have been on our business journey from 10 employees to 450 employees. Matt and Peter have always showed a personal interest in our business success and therefore made many recommendations for short term and long term strategies. I would be happy to recommend Rouse Lawyers for any business looking for a legal partner who they can trust and can provide ongoing, up to date advice.”

“Their knowledge of franchising is comprehensive

I have tried several of the larger law firms at the big end of town but found their services to be quite bland and predictable. Rouse Lawyers’s style of operation suits me much better, their knowledge of franchising is comprehensive, and just as importantly, their thinking is distinctly street wise and entrepreneurial.”

Ready To Take The Next Step?

To see how we can guide you through your requirements, please contact us for more information.