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If you run a logistic and transportation business, it is important to consider your intellectual property (IP). You need to have a business brand that stands out, so that you not only attract clients but also retain their business. This article will set out some key: 

  • internal intellectual property considerations; and
  • external intellectual property considerations.

Internal Intellectual Property

Your logistics and transportation business could develop its own IP. This could be anything that is original and unique created by you or by someone under your employment. It is important to recognise these creations as intellectual property because of the benefits they may have for your business. The benefits of owning intellectual property are having:

  • exclusive rights to use the intellectual property;
  • the right to grant permission to others to use your intellectual property;
  • the right to exploit the intellectual property; and 
  • legal protection.

Below, we set out some of the types of intellectual property your logistics and transportation business may have.

Patents

A patent is an intellectual property right you can use to protect new and novel inventions. You must register patents with the Intellectual Property Office New Zealand (IPONZ). Your application may be successful if the invention is:

  • original;
  • inventive; and
  • novel. 

When you submit your application for a patent you must include representations that show various perspectives of the invention. You may want to consider a patent if your business has invented a new process or method. 

A tip for patent applications and registration is that the invention must not be in the public domain before registration. This means that you must keep it a secret within your business, or it will not be new and novel. 

Copyright

Copyright protects creative works that have a permanent format. Protection automatically applies when you or your employees create a work, and does not require registration. You can signify copyright protection with the © symbol. You may want to consider copyright if your business has created a website, manual or jingle that is unique to your business. 

Trade Secrets

A trade secret protects information that is vital to your business. 

For example, this could be: 

  • a list of your best clients; or 
  • an invention you are yet to register as a patent. 

A trade secret allows you to ensure that your information stays confidential. It is a binding legal document. You can enter into these with any of the individuals or groups you interact with. Trade secrets:

  • notify others that the intellectual property is secret;
  • deters others from using your intellectual property incorrectly; and 
  • allows you to take action if someone infringes on your intellectual property rights. 

You can vary the terms of a trade secret to suit you. Remember that when entering into a legal contract, it is best to seek legal advice.

External Intellectual Property

Perhaps the most obvious intellectual property you own is that which identifies your business from others. When you are communicating with others or out transporting goods, you want your logistic and transportation business to stand out. Also, you want to protect your brand. You can achieve this by registering:

  • trade marks; and 
  • a company name.

Trade Marks

A trade mark protects any unique aspect of your brand that identifies it as yours. This could be a logo, colour, word, smell or anything else that people could use to recognise your business. A registered trade mark is approved by IPONZ and must be original and unique. An unregistered trade mark also offers some protection. An unregistered trade mark must:

  • be original and unique;
  • have a long-standing reputation in your industry; and 
  • already be recognised by your customers.

Company Name

You may also consider registering your company name. This can be done through the New Zealand Companies Office (NZCO). Your company name will then be considered your intellectual property and will grant you ownership rights over it. 

Key Takeaways

As a logistic and transportation business, you will probably have IP within your business and as part of your brand. There are many intellectual property tools to consider to identify and protect your business. If you need assistance with your business’ intellectual property, contact LegalVision’s IP lawyers on 0800 447 119 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a trade secret?

A trade secret protects information that has commercial value to your business and is not in the public domain.

How do I protect a trade secret in my business?

You can protect your trade secrets by entering a contract and keeping the information as secret as possible. 

What should I do if someone infringes my intellectual property rights?

If you are in this situation, you can communicate your rights and take legal action to prevent further infringement. It is best to use the help of a lawyer. 

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. From just $119 per week, get all your contracts sorted, trade marks registered and questions answered by experienced business lawyers.

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