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The Institute’s Business Brieﬁng Series
can be found at charteredaccountants.
Other titles in the series are:
> 20 Issues on the Business Implications
of a Carbon Cost
> 20 Issues on IT as a Strategic Partner
> 20 Issues for Businesses Expanding
Examples of some of the types of IP
rights an organisation may require include
patents for an invention, trademarks for
a logo, registered designs for the way
something looks or copyright to protect
training manuals or images on a website.
The Wiggles registered their ﬁrst
trademark in 1993. Now, their IP rights
include a signiﬁcant trademark portfolio
both in Australia and abroad.
“Our IP portfolio is essential to our
business both in Australia and overseas.
It acts both as a deterrent to would-be
copycats as well as providing us with
legal rights to pursue enforcement actions
“My advice to others is to make sure that
you identify and protect any IP that is of
value to your business. Then you’ve got to
actively manage it, just as you would any
other business asset,” says Conway.
IP IN ACTION
Not all IP needs to be formally registered.
Both registered and unregistered IP can be
owned sold, transferred, leased or given
away, just like physical property. There are
two common forms of non-registrable IP
– copyright and trade secrets. The best-
known example of a trade secret is that
of the Coca-Cola formula. Coca-Cola has
used trade secrets to keep the formula of its
popular soft drink from becoming public.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR
IP IN CHECK?
IP is an asset to an organisation as much
as any physical stock or inventory. In order
to make the most out of your IP, it needs to
be treated with equal importance. Experts
recommend that organisations develop an
IP strategy to help effectively manage IP.
An IP review should be conducted each
year to ensure you are making the most
out of your IP and that your rights are
For a business the size of the Wiggles,
they have a renewal program in which they
regularly conduct a strategic evaluation of
their IP to determine if their rights are up-
to-date and what other rights they should
HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO
Having an IP-educated business
community helps build stronger
organisations and a more resilient
economy. IP enables business to expand
with conﬁdence, attract investment and
reap the full value of their hard work upon
exiting the business.
As business leaders, ﬁnance
professionals or trusted advisors,
Chartered Accountants often have intimate
knowledge of various aspects of their
client’s organisations at different stages in
their development, including when they are
establishing a business for the ﬁrst time,
wanting to expand into the export market
or acquiring other businesses.
At any of these points, IP is an important
and real consideration and Chartered
Accountants are well placed to raise the
issue of IP with their clients.
WHERE DO YOU FIND OUT
MORE ABOUT IP?
The Institute of Chartered Accountants
launched its Business Brieﬁng Series in
March 2010 to assist business leaders and
ﬁnancial professionals to understand
and manage challenging issues in the
The latest Business Brieﬁng Series
edition is entitled 20 Issues on
Intellectual Property and was produced in
collaboration with IP Australia.
“Businesses are becoming more aware
of how much there is to gain if IP is
properly managed and how much there
is to lose if it is not,” says the Institute’s
manager of Chartered Accountants in
business, Karen McWilliams. “This is a
great tool to assist business leaders in
keeping their businesses in order and
making the most out of their assets.”
The Business Brieﬁng was launched at
the Institute’s Business Forum in Sydney
on 4 May 2011 and featured a presentation
from Mike Conway.
The publication is available on the
Institute website charteredaccountants.
The next edition of the Business Brieﬁng
Series, 20 Issues for Building a Sustainable
Business, is due to be launched in late
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