Home – New Forums Find the help you need Web based Intellectual Property Start-up – Who to talk to?

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    My programmer husband has a great web based business start-up. We don’t know where to start. Do we try to patent his idea – Intellectual property law? Do we just form a Pty. Ltd. to go forward? Do we put it in trust? Shell company?

    We need to speak with someone who is familiar with internet start-ups and can guide us.



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    HI Catherine,

    I must first disclaim this as information, not advice.

    You cannot patent “an idea”… in fact there’s really not protection for an idea – there is protection for various forms that the idea may take. A patent is the right granted to a device, method, process or substance that is new, inventive and useful. This basically means it cannot exist or have been publicly disclosed anywhere in the world – and, useful means it must do what you say it will do. Often patents are thought of as solutions to problems. If your husband’s “idea” solves a problem and you can articulate how it does that then you might have a patent on your hands. It’s useful to also be able to explain what past attempts have been made to solve that problem, and where/how they failed. You can access information at http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au on patents. If you think the shoe fits, find a patent attorney, as the area is complex. I can recommend some if needed.

    Alternatively, computer code/programs etc will often fall under the area of copyright – see http://www.copyright.org.au. They have fact sheets available specifically in the area of computer software and the like as to what is protected and not protected under copyright. Best thing about copyright is that it’s automatic and free; if your husband is the original creator/author then he is the owner of the copyright.

    An accountant or solicitor can best advise on the right structure for you but they will likely need more information about your personal circumstances in order to advise.

    Good luck with it all

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